“After spending the last 5 years of my life emerging myself in heavy, extreme fight training in Mauy Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts (a combination of all forms of martial arts striking/grappling/wrestling) and competing all over Australia with much success, I still felt something was missing in my life, after each tournament, each victory, each fight, even gaining sponsorship”
During her Yoga NRG Teacher Training Nik came along to meet Dan Millman best selling author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior. Here’s what Nik learnt from Dan and doing her Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga NRG here is what Nik had to say about …
How Yoga Mindfulness and Dan Millmans Warrior Wisdom has helped her understand Yoga, what it offers and how she can use that wisdom to help others in her Yoga Teaching
This parallel surfaced quite early in the book when Socrates pointed out to Dan that his athleticism and gymnastic success was only one small area of his life. This directly spoke to me, after years of competing and now many months of realizing that there was something more to life other than striving for glory and the need to prove myself to others, I finally realised the success and results I was craving were never going to for fill what I truly desired – Inner peace and self-acceptance.
Yoga alone has shown me that letting go of the ego is imperative to growing spiritually and emotionally but Dan’s book reinforced this message to me again on a deeper level, as I have direct comparisons I can relate to.
“There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere. It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now!”
Through letting go of my expectations physically and mentally and allowing myself to just be and feel, my awareness in my yoga practice keeps growing. Being mindful and present in each moment and gaining a deeper understanding of exactly what it is my body is trying to tell me, while on the mat practicing yoga and also off the mat in my daily routine, I am now striving to trust my inner voice and not pass judgement over whatever comes up.
My daily breathing has become much more of a focus in my life now. To think in the past I had simply been unaware of what my breath was doing, I now regularly catch myself out if I am holding my breath or shallow breathing. This I believe is a direct impact from being educated on the ujjayi breath through my yoga practice. I particularly liked when Socrates told Dan to “learn how to breathe” and to not bother coming back to visit him until he could do so.
“Similar to Way of the Peaceful Warrior , Yoga helps us to to refine every human function – moving, sleeping, breathing, thinking, feeling – and eating. Of all the human activities, eating is one of the most important to stabilize first.”
Again, my years of competing and having to cut weight for fights meant that food and nutrition became like a science to me. I was simply eating to fuel my body for the activities I had before me. This served me to a degree but I now see that while yes diet is vitally important, so is balance, pleasure, appreciation and mindfulness. Our energy levels are a direct result of the diet and lifestyle we expose ourselves to. I use to train hard then reward my success with a cheat week or a night out with alcohol. I now know that those so called rewards are actually not rewards at all, they are instead direct impacts on my energy levels and over all feeling of wellness.
Teaching is something I have always felt guided to do in my life. I love taking charge whenever I can and helping others on their journey, whatever that may be. I relish in giving advice and feel I was in many ways a natural born leader. However after reading way of the peaceful warrior – my mind opened to a new way of perhaps guiding and teaching others that I had not considered before. Rather than imposing my knowledge on people with words and advice, I realized I can also help others seek the answers from within themselves. After all, yoga is a truly personal experience which varies with each individual. Listening to yourself is just as important if not more so than idealizing another’s theory or teachings.
The way Socrates quite often left Dan bewildered or curious as to what it was he had to do, in turn saw Dan go away more than not, pondering his own sense of self, and his own personal challenges and motives.
Cutting Free: “Silence is the warrior’s art – and meditation is his sword. With it, you’ll cut through your illusions. But understand this: the sword’s usefulness depends upon the swordsman. If you don’t know how to use the weapon properly, it can become a dangerous, deluding or useless tool”.
I feel my purpose as a yoga teacher will be to guide and help others whilst also showing them how to in turn, trust and listen to themselves on and off the mat.
The Final Search: “A warrior is not something you become, Dan. It is something you either are, in this moment, or something you are not. The way itself creates the warrior”.
In this moment, this is all we have. To be a warrior is a daily, moment to moment choice – Which I want to choose each time I take a class and step in front of any individual or group of people. The warrior’s way will allow my teaching style to be empowering, strong of mind and body whilst also a happy and peaceful experience for all.
The Gate Opens: “A fool is happy when his cravings are satisfied. A warrior is happy without reason. That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline – above all else I have taught you. Happiness is not just something you feel – it is who you are.”
Above all else, as a yoga teacher this shall be my main focus – to lead by example and create a happy and peaceful environment for each and every class I take.
“I call myself a warrior – a peaceful warrior – because the real battles we face are inside each of us.” Dan Millman
Thanks Nik for sharing your Yoga + Mindfulness moments of wisdom with us inspired by your life lessons from Martial Arts and connecting with Dan Millman best selling author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior .
Nik has since gone on to complete the Yoga NRG Mentoring Program , and she now teaches regularly with Yoga NRG Wednesdays 5:30pm at the Yoga NRG Studio
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