YUDDHA YOGA - MARTIAL YOGA: About Yoga and The martial arts school Darma MargaNothing is surrounded by so many fibs and fantasies, like yoga. American housewives write books about it, famous filmstars publish all sorts of guides, those, who have finished a two-week training course in fitness teach us how to relax, breathe and meditate. Nowadays it has become fashionable to have elements of classical yoga and Yuddha yoga in martial arts.
But what is Yuddha yoga? And what is the purpose of having classical yoga in martial arts? Without understanding it, there is no way that any type of yoga can exist. It is aimed at making the inner life perfect, and having a strong, powerful body is just a way of getting to know yourself. Going to different schools of yoga and martial arts, travelling to India several times a year to attend seminars will definitely do you good and provide you with lots of new impressions... But if you don’t understand the purpose of it all, and only know the techniques, then it’s not yoga.
Yuddha yoga is a system of physical and breathing exercises, which focus on improving the state of our organizm. The word-combination “martial yoga” seems illogical to some, after all, how can sitting in a lotus position and observing can be called “martial arts”? But it is paradoxical only the first time you look at it. If we cast aside all the stereotypes and think impartially about it, then we will find out a lot of interesting things. For example, where did all the modern martial arts come from? And what does present-day yoga trace its roots back to?
Only the first stage, called Hatha Yoga is taught in most Yuddha Yoga schools nowadays. It is mastering the combination of brething techniques and the main asanas (the yoga positions). But there are other stages, which open new levels of control over one’s body and mind. They are Radja Yoga, Dhjana Yoga, Samadhi Yoga... Yuddha yoga (the yoga of combat) is just one of those stages and this word-combination seemed neither strange nor paradoxical to Indian monks.
There is a common opinion that there is no fighting ideology in classical yoga, because it’s guiding principle is not to cause damage. But doing harm and knowing how to protect oneself are two completely different stories. Attack and defence are basically one and the same thing – the ability to combat. This is what Yuddha Yoga is all about. If we can repel agression, without hurting ourselves or those who started the fight, then we prevail not only physically, but also morally. By being able to stop somebody else’s aggression we feel our own strength. And on our way to reaching inner harmony – which is the whole point of doing yoga – it’s important that we feel safe.