August – the archer

The archer is the highlight of EBR 3 – the sequence to awaken the heart. This sequence as a whole is very powerful. It activates the heart centre and then we put all that energy to very effective and powerful use by focusing it into the archer. It is a posture that is dynamic and moving; it is focused, intense, and yet also detached. A paradox indeed!

The important thing with the archer is that we do it with a high intension or goal. It is the way we can express our heart energy out into the world around us, and helps us to understand and move towards our goals. It is the dynamic forward motion of this posture, which helps to drive us towards our goals. If you would like to use the archer as a part of EBR 3 you can buy the CD here. Below is a story about one of the greatest archers who ever lived. This story will help you to understand a little more about the energetics, and the benefits of this posture, and how it came into being. Enjoy!

How to do this posture: >     Stand with the feet about shoulder width apart. Pause for a few moments to bring to mind an image of your current goal. Choose one, powerful image that you think most reflects your goal. It could be an image of you as you would like to be emotionally or physically, it could be your ideal new house or it could be a situation at work or home. Just draw it into your mind and make it real.

>     Turn the right foot out 90 degrees, and drop the left heel away from you. Raise the right arm up sideways to shoulder height with the palm facing away from you. Bring the left arm up, elbow bent, so that the palm of the left hand is level with the collar bones. Extend the thumb up towards the ceiling and tuck the ring and little fingers in towards the palm.

>     Imagine you are holding a bow in your right hand. Bring the left arm across the body to the right hand. Imagine you are taking hold of the bow string. Slowly pull the left arm back – the left hand towards your left ear.

>     Bending into the left knee, keep the right leg straight, and very gently raise the right arm a fraction, so that your bow is pointing above the horizontal, still keeping a straight line between the bent left arm and the extended right arm.

>     Bring your mental picture into your mind. Focus on it. And imagine it out in front of you. When you are ready take a deep breath in and with a dynamic out breath allow that arrow of energy, passion and success to fly straight to your goal. As you release your arrow your body weight shifts forward onto the front leg and your left arm moves forward to meet with the right hand.

>     Repeat twice more to the right. Then release the hand mudra, allowing both arms to raise up and overhead. Feet turn forwards and then out the left. Repeat 3 times on the left side. Raise arms to overhead and then allow the arms to separate and come back to standing tall and strong. Visualising your goal, and knowing that it will become manifest. “Manage your mind and you will manage your life – otherwise your mind will manage you!”

The story of Arjuna, the best archer In ancient Indian mythology there was a teacher called Dronacharya. He was one of the greatest warriors of his time – having mastered the use of various weapons. Dronacharya was asked to teach a group of young princes (5 brothers, called the Pandavas and their rivals, the Kauravas) in the art of weaponry. The Pandavas and the Kauravas were quick to learn, and soon picked up various skills. While all the princes learnt the use of all the weapons, each of them had their own favorites. While Dronacharya was a fair teacher and treated all the students equally, he couldn’t help admiring Arjuna the most. Arjuna was not only the best archer of all, he was the most focused, he most enthusiastic and the most driven. However, this admiration was misconstrued as favoritism by the Kauravas, and they continually complained against it.

Deciding that it was time these misunderstandings were set at rest, Dronacharya decided that it was time to prove Arjuna’s uniqueness to the rest of the students. He called all the students to the grove outside the ashram. He had placed on one of the trees a wooden bird with a prominently painted eye. He addressed all the students and said, “Young princes, you have learnt most of the skills necessary for a warrior, and it is time you take a test and show me your abilities. Right now, I want you to show me your skill in archery. There, on that tree is a wooden bird with a painted eye. You have to aim for, and hit that eye.” The first one to be called was Yudhishtra. Dronacharya asked him to aim at the bird, but wait for him to say the word before letting the arrow loose. When Yudhishtra was ready, Dronacharya asked, “Yudhishtra, please tell me what you can see.” Yudhishtra replied, “I can see the bird, the tree, the fruits on the tree and more birds.” Dronacharya replied, “All right. Leave your bow and arrow and go.” Yudhishtra was surprised, but obeyed his teacher and did as he was told. Next was the turn of Duryodhana. Asked the same question, he replied, “Master, I can see the bird, the tree, the leaves, the fruits, another bird…” But before he could complete, Dronacharya said, “You can go!”

Duryodhana was wild, and he flung the bow and arrow to the ground before he stood aside. Next was the turn of Bhima. Again, he was asked the same question by Dronacharya, and he replied, “Master, I too can see the bird, the tree, the fruits……” he too was interrupted and made to stand aside. Next was the turn of the Pandava twins, one by one. When posed the same question, Nakula said, “I can see the people, the trees and the bird” and Sahadeva said, “I can see the bird, the fruits and the tree.” They too were turned away. Finally, it was the turn of Arjuna. As soon as Arjuna was ready, Dronacharya asked, “Arjuna, what can you see?” Arjuna replied, “Master, I can see only the eye of the bird, and nothing else.” With a smile on his face, Dronacharya said, “Fire!” and Arjuna let loose the arrow which found its mark. Dronacharya turned to the other princes and said, “Did you all understand the point of this test? When you aim for something, you must look at nothing else but the target. Only intense concentration can help you strike the target. All of you could see the other things like the trees, the fruits, the leaves and the people because you were not concentrating on the task given to you. It was only Arjuna who was really concentrating. So now all of you know why Arjuna is the best student!” Dronacharya’s test silenced the Kauravas, and all understood that Arjuna was indeed the best student.


2 thoughts on “August – the archer

  1. Pingback: Dream your dreams | Yoga for Calm

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