I’m reading the book Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience, and Peace of Mind by Beryl Bender Birch. The book’s target audience is military service members or anyone deployed to a war zone.
Birch writes, “The main difference I see between the discipline of being in the armed forces and the discipline of yoga is that the final objective in the military is to prepare the warrior for battle with an external force or enemy. In yoga training, the preparation is also geared toward battle, but the enemies are within!”
The book contains testimonials by several veterans who are successfully using yoga practice along with conscious breathing, yoga nidra (a deep relaxation practice also called yogic sleep), and meditation in addition to other therapies for conditions such as post traumatic stress and chronic pain.
Some of these men and women have lost one or more limbs. What I found inspirational is that they made the yoga postures work for them as opposed to using physical impediments as an excuse not to do yoga. One man with a severely disfigured arm figured out a modification for crane. A woman who lost both legs does the upper body part of the postures.
Birch adds, “Together we figure out how we can do this posture rather than why we can’t do it.”
How many times have we made excuses about why we can’t do something when, if we really want to do it, we can figure out how to make it work?
One veteran’s advice to anyone who might feel discouraged from attempting the physical postures due to physical limitation or disability advised, “Just start where you are and do what you can.”
Well, if we truly want to practice yoga and battle the enemies within ourselves, we must start where we are and do what we can.