Warrior Breath: Embodying Archetypes
By Shala Worsley
How I learned about 'Warrior Breath'
A short time after I moved to Asheville, NC in 1996 I stumbled upon a little yoga practice room above an antique shop downtown. There was no sign outside advertising it as a studio or practice space. At the top of a narrow and creaking staircase there was simply a wooden bowl for donations. The room was dimly lit and I have a vague recollection of the floor being covered in shag carpeting. There were no yoga props. I don’t remember yoga mats; I think we were offered carpet remnant squares to sit on. When I entered the room, it was at full capacity with about 12-15 people already there waiting for the 2-hour practice to begin. The person leading the classes described his style as Hatha Yoga. I don’t remember that teacher’s name and haven’t crossed paths with him in over two decades. But his practices were potent and effective. If I met him today, I’d thank him for creating and holding a strong sacred space. And then I’d thank him for teaching me Warrior Breath.
What is Warrior Breath?
Warrior Breath is a method for embodying the archetype of Mars. When Mars is present in our lives, we feel full of vigor and courage. We’re ready to take action or stand up and fight for something important to us. Warrior Breath can be a supportive practice when we have the need to be forthright, bold, and assertive. In that little practice space above the antique shop we’d practice 108 rounds of Warrior Breath together, and then we’d sit quietly steeping in the collective power that filled the room.
How to use Warrior Breath
Warrior breath involves three simple parts:
1. The use of Tse mudra from the Taoist Yoga tradition. The name translates as the Dispeller of All Darkness, as it is meant to cut through despair, depression, and anxiety. It’s done by curling the hands into fists in a particular way.
2. Pulling the arms down from overhead on the exhalation in order to stimulate an energetic region on the side of the ribs which stimulates the Fire element.
3. The empowering use of the sound “HA!” on each exhalation. The sound is meant to clear mental stagnation, fear, indecisiveness and replace it with confidence and courage to make a change or defend a boundary.
Want to Learn More? Check Out My Upcoming Workshop!
If you’re interested in more ways to fill yourself with the energy of Mars (The Sun, the Moon, Mercury, and Venus as well), then please join me for the upcoming workshop Astrological Archetypes & Yoga at AYC January 20-22, 2023. It will be a total pleasure to practice together.