Hero’s Journey to the Yoga Mat
The yoga mat provides the sanctity, twenty four inches by seventy two of pure safe space! For what? you might ask… Pratayahara, senses turned in, is the yogic terminology, meaning simply what it says and yet a guide post towards something much more profound. By turning the gaze inward for 90 minutes we begin to uncover a vast array of inner experience previously unknown, always in yoga seeking to find the edge and move, sometimes ever so slightly even, past it. It is a journey to be sure, often of epic proportions to begin with, we see the Hero and Heroine struggle to get to the mat everyday, don’t we? And yet, on the yoga mat, lies the answers to the much more deeper inquiry that our Soul is so desperately crying out for.
So, therein lies the conundrum, doesn’t it? We can have a far better life experience by practicing yoga and meditation everyday, it is absolutely proven! And yet we resist! What are the hurdles? Are they real? What does our mind(ego) and body concoct for us everyday that creates the disturbances and discomforts as we slip unawares into our conditioning? What additional traumas do we create every time we continue our experience in an unconscious way?
I can relate! It happens… Until it does less frequently and at some point you will begin to have such a series of wakeful moments that you will begin to remark how differently you are experiencing life. And, say how much more peaceful your experience is since you embarked on your yoga practice and journey. A transformation is imminent and rest assured you will be forever changed. Whether you go back to the Old Ways is up to you, but you will be able to recognize it and make your choice, knowing there is another way. The Hero’s way…
Coined in English 1387, the word hero comes from the Greek “ἥρως” (heroes), “hero, warrior”, literally “protector” or “defender” the postulated original forms of these words being *ἥρϝως, hērwōs, and *ἭρFα,Hērwā, respectively. It is also thought to be a cognate of the Latin verb servo (original meaning: to preserve whole) and of the Avesta verb haurvaiti (to keep vigil over), although the original Proto-Indoeuropean root is unclear. FROM WIKIPEDIA.
To preserve whole… to keep vigil over… These, I think, allude to what is meant by the Modern Hero’s Journey, albeit at first it is surely a return to wholeness, then preserve and keep vigil over. This archetypal journey has been meted out for eons all the way to the shamanic days of old some 25,000 years ago. It is told in many forms, yet particularly vivid in the tarot it yields a road map of the human experience. (See Laura Colvin Brown’s Healing with the Archetypes for more information…) On the yoga mat, as the senses turn within, we are managing the latter half of the traditional tarot spread where the hero goes into the underworld to meet the devil (darkness), navigate the wilderness of the shadow self and ultimately have the awakening that lightens and integrates, becoming whole and returning, having come to know God and the secrets of the Universe.
The Hero returns home to share new knowledge, information and guide the way for those who become the next wave of consciousness to expand, as everyone who returns from this journey realizes their deepest truth; They come to know… and that makes all the difference.
Part 1 of a 4-part series on Yoga and Meditation for the Hero’s Journey.
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