Warrior poses are named after Virabhadra, a fierce warrior created from Shiva’s anger.
Sati, youngest daughter of Daksha, won the heart of Shiva by her severe austerities and intense meditation on Shiva. But Daksha was not pleased about Sati getting married to Shiva.
One day, Daksha organized a great fire sacrifice. He didn’t invite Sati and Shiva, Sati went to the sacrifice anyway and was humiliated and insulted by her father. She immolated herself in rage. Hearing this, Shiva was mad with grief and fury. From his matted hair, the powerful warrior Virabhadra arose. Virabhadra and his army destroyed the sacrifice and Daksha was beheaded.
We can see anger is a powerful emotion that harms both self and others. Anger, like a fire, brings destruction and can be a destroyer of life. It needs to be managed. We won’t be able to fight anger without any preparations. We can practice mindfulness like a fire drill to direct the mind to anger itself instead of the cause of anger. Thich Nhat Hanh says “like a firefighter, we must put water on the blaze immediately and not waste time looking for the person who set the house on fire.”
Thich Nhat Hanh also introduces a mindfulness practice to cope with anger. We can recite this verse regularly to train our mind and get ready for this strong emotion.
Breathing in, I know that anger is still here.
Breathing out, I know that anger is me.
And I know that mindfulness is me also.
Breathing in, I know that anger is an unpleasant feeling.
Breathing out, I know this feeling has been born and will die.
Breathing in, I know that I can take care of this feeling.
Breathing out, I calm this feeling.
(Thich Nhat Hanh Awakening of the Heart)
Softness can overcome hardness. At the moment anger arises, let’s bring attention to our breathing and find strength to subdue this powerful emotion!
When we practice Warrior poses, we can also repeat the following sentence in our mind:
May I have strength to turn anger into calmness.
Be a warrior and conquer anger with mindfulness!
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