Friday, November 11, 2005

Honoring the Warrior

Happy Veteran’s Day. I hope you've had a wonderful day.

Today, Americans honor those who’ve served in the military and kept our country secure.

Thank you, vets! I am grateful for your tremendous personal sacrifices.

Yoga honors a great hero of war by dedicating a pose to him. That great warrior is the mighty General of the Army of monkeys and bears who served Rama. His name is Hanuman.

Hanumanasana (pronounced hah-new-mahn-AH-sun) is the pose we typically call the splits. This pose, with one leg extended out in front, and the other stretched out behind, recalls the great leaps Hanuman made across the Straits to Ceylon. He was in search of his master’s wife, Sita.

hanumanasana Posted by Picasa

When he found her in her captor's compound, he lept again across the straits and gathered his army. They tossed rocks in the water and built a causeway across the straits by which they could cross over.

On the other side, they defeated the enemy and reunited Sita with Rama. Jai Hanuman!

But Sita's brother was pierced by an arrow in battle. His death was near. The herbalist could save him only with the juice from a plant found on the top of the Himalayan mountains.

So strong was Hanuman's dedication to Rama, he lept across the straits again. But once atop the mountain, he couldn't identify the medicinal herb. So he scooped the peak off the top of the mountain and lept back. The herbalist found what he needed and Sita's brother was saved.

This story of Hanuman is told in the Ramayana, one of the great epic tales of India.

Even though the story recounts Hanuman's incredible powers, he is remembered most for his unmatched devotion to Rama.

Hanuman Posted by Picasa

In addition to Hanuman's devotion to Rama, I want to focus on one other aspect of military life.

When I enetered the Air Force Academy as a cadet back in 1979, I did what every other American fighting man has done. I trained.

Every soldier begins his or her military life with Basic Training. During this period of intense instruction and practice, nearly everything about your life changes. The way you talk, the way you walk, the way you dress and the way you think are all changed by this carefully orchestrated series of events.

And soldiers continue to train.

When I left the Air Force, I was able to do things I never imagined I could do.

Some of you look at hanumanasana and say "never." "It can't be done."

But hanumanasana is like riding a bike. Or driving a car. Or swimming. If someone who knows how to do it teaches you to do it, and if you practice, you can do it too.

Only your disbelief keeps you from it.

Be like the great Hanuman and all veterans. Learn. Practice, And discipline yourself with great devotion.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., The story of Hanuman is one of the "stories behind the pose" that we encounter at the Experience Sanskrit workshop. When you learn the story, you never forget the pose or its Sanskrit name.

Many of our new friends in Texas were shocked to learn that, with a little instruction, they could do hanumanasana before the left for home from the Experience Sanskrit workshop!

Our next Experience Sanskrit workshop is March 4 at Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis, Maryland. Register today at .

p.p.s., I'm inspired by the Ramayana. But it's not the only thing that inspires me. The beauty of Yelapa and the generosity of the people there inspire me, too.

I received an email today from my friend Judith in Yelapa, Mexico. She has invited our Experience Paradise Yoga Vacation group to join with her for one of her children's yoga classes in the village. After the class, she wants us to stay for a fabulous meal of fish, cooked by her neighbor using a family recipe. My mouth is watering.

I can't wait to get back to Yelapa. I hope you'll consider coming with us February 18-25, 2006. Space is limited. Airline ticket prices are escalating. Learn more at .

p.p.p.s., My favorite copy of the Ramayana is by Ranchor Prime. The illustrations in this book are fabulous. Click here.

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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