Peaceful warrior on a journey

I did it. I signed up.
And now I’m happy, excited, terrified, impatient to start my journey.
I’ve started my yoga teacher training course at Sanapurna. I have all the books at hand (a full stack, pretty daunting, all untouched), I blocked all the weekends, and I eagerly read all details provided upfront by the team, including the prep work before kicking off with the first long weekend today, July 5th.

The first homework included watching the movie Peaceful Warrior (2006) and reviewing it. And I thought I’d use my blog as a platform to share this with everyone (it’s pretty long, so brace yourself if you’re up for the challenge).

This task reminded me a lot of my high school years when we used to review books and write literary commentaries dissecting each phrase, imagery, character. I won’t do the same for this movie, for multiple reasons:

One: it’s not a cinematographic masterpiece, but a medium of *knowledge* sharing (emphasizing knowledge for good reasons, I’ll elaborate later).
Two: the message goes much beyond the movie, and I’ll try to highlight here the elements that really stuck with me.

The plot itself is relatively straightforward: a college kid striving to compete in the gymnastics olympics encounters some hardships along the way, but thankfully gets trained by a modern-day guru on how to focus his energy and achieve whatever he puts his mind into. Sounds super cheesy, right? You can actually see through the plot by minute 3.

Still, the charm and wisdom of the movie comes in the regular doses of knowledge imparted by the guru. This depth of the message reminds me a lot about my journey to yoga: gave it a try, thought most of the stretching postures are pretty easy, didn’t instantly see more behind it. Only when I opened my mind and saw beyond the physical practice did I understand what yoga had to offer – and still offers me afresh after years of practice.

Back to what I considered highlights of the movie:
One of the best parts I can also very much relate to is the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Just because you know something, it doesn’t mean you’re wise. To me, that’s such a valid concept especially nowadays when most of us have access to so much knowledge. It’s only when we reflect, digest and internalize the knowledge that the wisdom settles in. I found that so simple, powerful and easy to incorporate in daily life, especially in many instances when I find myself or others saying the simple “Yeah, I know”.

Probably the most beautiful moment of the movie was when the protagonist realized there’s never nothing going on. To me, that was an ode to awareness, a celebration of how vast our immediate universe can be, and how precious every moment is. There are no ordinary moments!

Isn’t that difficult to process? At least to me, that gives a whole different weight and dimension to every breath I take. It goes beyond the carpe diem “concept” of living life to the fullest. It’s the opposite of encouraging you to go bungee jumping NOW because “life is short”. It’s a simple way of showing you that there is value in every single moment, if we choose to see it. And to me, it’s an appreciation of all the small things, from stillness to movement, from something to nothing, from light to darkness. In this day and age, I feel we are not / no longer wired to value every moment, with so many impulses and interactions and ideas pushing us in so many directions. Still, I believe that if we take a moment to reflect – a bit like the slow-motion segment in the movie – we will value our existence and our environment a lot more.

Certainly, this increased awareness of ourselves and our surroundings carries with it responsibility, it’s the opposite of “ignorance is bliss”. In the movie, my favorite part was the guidance on developing this powerful habit: Be conscious about your choices and responsible for your actions!

I relate a lot to this as my life mantra for a very long time has been “no regrets”. This of course did not mean I always did the right thing but I learned from failures and took responsibility for my mistakes. While my mantra has a rather backward-looking focus, I like how the movie quote can be used for the present as well. These days when many of us live privileged lives filled with options and choices and opportunities, you need a few rules of thumb to ensure you are and remain happy with everything you do. It can span from nutrition, plastic consumption, relationships, travel destinations and more.
I think I like this quote so much, I may even adopt it as my new mantra (it’s much longer than the old one but worth it! ;))

As I embark on this yoga teacher training journey, I am confident I will learn so much more principles I need to reflect on, digest and maybe adopt in my life. I am looking forward to taking this knowledge and transforming it into wisdom.
My wisdom. Step by step. Consciously.
Namaste ♥


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