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October 9, 2009: A Kind of Warrior

The other day, after many weeks of absence, I returned to yoga practice in my home town of Winterset. With my rolled yoga mat tucked under my arm, I scooted over to the little studio that is less than a block from home.

Once on the floor, legs folded in front of me, I looked around the room, enjoying the familiarity of its details: the scroll design of the sheer curtains on the wide windows, the artwork on the walls, and the reassuring presence of my teacher Tia at the front of the class.

As all yoginis know, the goal in practice is to concentrate on one's breath, ridding the mind of distractions. My thoughts wander, though, and that day, as we moved from pose to pose, I considered their names and what each signifies. 

In Bridge, I thought of bridges—how they span divides, enable travel, connect people. In Table, I envisioned tables, spread with meals, spread with paperwork, spread with fabric and thread.

As Tia coached us through our Warriors, I thought of distant battles and their fighters, conflicts more intense and overt than those we face daily in a small American town. My mind returned to my recent trip to Scotland, when my husband Mark and I visited a museum on the Isle of Skye. Posted on one wall was a poem in Gaellic, written in 1411, a pep talk for McDonald clansmen who would be at war next day. Beside the verse, a translation in English was provided.

 

In my life, living all my years in a peaceful land, I have been on no real battlefield. I have pointed no sword, aimed no gun at fellow man. But courage welled up, expanding my heart, as I read line after ancient line, just as it does each time I stand in Warrior on my yoga mat.

 

The Incitement to Battle
Harlaw, 1411

by Lachlann Mor MacMhuirich

O Children of Conn, remember
Hardihood in time of battle:
Be watchful, daring,
Be dextrous, winning renown,
Be vigorous, pre-eminent,
Be strong, brave,
Be valiant, triumphant,
Be resolute, fierce,
Be forceful and stand your ground,
Be nimble, valourous,
Be well-equipped, handsomely accoutred,
Be dominant, watchful,
Be fervid, pugnacious,
Be dour, inspiring fear,
Be ready for action, warrior-like,
Be prompt,
Be exceedingly, recklessly daring,
Be prepared, willing,
Be numerous, giving battle,
Be fiery, fully-ready,
Be strong, dealing swift blows,
Be spirited, inflicting great wounds,
Be stout-hearted, martial,
Be venomous, implacable,
Be fearless,
Be swift, performing great deeds,
Be glorious, nobly powerful,
Be rapid in movement, very quick,
Be valiant, princely,
Be acting, exceedingly bold,
Be ready, fresh and comely,
Be king-like,
Be eager, be successful,
Be unflurried, striking excellent blows,
Be compact in your ranks, elated,
Be vigorous, nimble-footed,
In winning the battle against your enemies.
O Children of Conn of the Hundred Battles.
Now is the time for you to win recognition,
O raging whelps,
O sturdy heroes,
O most sprightly lions,
O battle-loving warriors,
O brave, heroic firebrands,
The Children of Conn of the Hundred Battles,
O Children of Conn, remember
Hardihood in time of battle.

Today's Fortune Cookie Fortune:
You will admire the Scottish.

Posted on Friday, October 9, 2009 by Registered CommenterMarianne Fons | CommentsPost a Comment | References5 References

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