Hero in Yoga for Peace–for the 21st century.

Thank you for all your responses! I read them and then spent time thinking over how yoga conceives of the hero, beyond the poses. Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

The religion of love teaches us to love ourselves in order to find peace. Yoga is a method for loving oneself. This is the ultimate aim of yoga: to find peace through love. Those who achieve this are heroes. Of course, loving the entire world does not happen overnight. I have become my own hero, by loving myself and finding peace through yoga. Yoga’s conception of Hero of the religion of Love comes in many forms, including massage, living in the present, and poses.

Yoga and Massage

Tender touch can be healing, providing love to the being that receives it. I have been fortunate to learn how to touch myself tenderly, through Ayurvedic self massage.

“Traditional ayurvedic texts wax eloquent on the benefits” of self massage. Here’s what one says – ‘Give yourself a full body oil massage on a daily basis. It is nourishing, pacifies the doshas, relieves fatigue, provides stamina, pleasure and perfect sleep, enhances the complexion and the luster of the skin, promotes longevity and nourishes all parts of the body’” (Mapi 2005-2008).

In summary, massaging oneself regularly gives love to the body, which is viewed as a precious present that should be cared for lovingly. Yoga (through Ayurveda) can provide the skills to be able to love one’s body through massage, allowing the practitioner to root in love for oneself.

Living Yoga

Further, yoga is life, living in the present moment and being aware of that. You love yourself when you live in the present, because you are with yourself. I consider that anyone is a hero for themselves if they live in the precious present. This is what I try to do through living yoga.

From loving oneself, the religion of love grows to loving those around us.

Yoga Asana

Finally, the hero comes in very specific forms: three poses. Each is a version or stage of veerasana, veer meaning man, chief, hero, and asana meaning seat or pose. Thus the hero is the one who sits in the pose of the hero.

These poses are held for 5 minutes at a time, and the student is asked to focus his/ her gaze on the third eye chakra, the point between the brows. The third eye chakra (Ajna) is the place where the nerve endings meet. By focusing on this point for 5 minutes, these hero poses give strength and courage to meditate on the highest self, allowing a chance to achieve peace. These poses are heroes, and their purpose is to give to those that are trying to root themselves in love, so that they can grow this love to others.

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