NewYears IED

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Do You Know What Yoga Is?

There is always a tremendous amount of activity going on at Walter Reed when I show up to take yoga every Tuesday.

I was cold and wet when I arrived this week, but was quickly swept up in the energy of the place.

As I waited for the teacher Daniel to show up I looked around at everything that was going on. One guy was working with a tech on voice recognition software for his computer. He only had his right arm left.

Another guy without legs from the knees down was throwing a football while answering questions about signing up for a 4 day bike ride.

Things really got interesting when a tech/science team showed up with a robotic prosthetic hand.

This bad boy was straight out of the movies.

After chatting with the tech/science team, I was blown away by the fact that the user had to teach the hand how to work according to his sensations and not the other way around.

I figured the hand came with a bunch of presets that the user had to just get used to.

Nope, that hand is a paperweight without training.

Yoga class started as the owner of the hand showed up for training. The last thing I caught the tech/science team saying to the warrior without both legs and a left hand was "take a deep breath to clear your head, and focus on sensation".

That my friends is Yoga. I've been thinking about this fact for two days now and there is no other explanation.

Why am I'm telling you this? Because I think a lot of people think that yoga just means standing on your head, doing weird stretches or buying $108 dollar stretch pants from a fancy store.

To the contrary, my fellow warriors, yoga is anything you connect your mind, body and spirit to on a consistent basis.

Rock climbing, hiking, shooting, working out.... You see it's anything you want it to be as long as you are connected to it. In other words, if you are rock climbing and are completely focused on the present moment....meaning you feel the rock with each finger tip, you hear your breathing, steady in/steady out, you notice the rhythms of your heart are doing yoga.

To those of you that remember BRM, this should sound familiar.

I experience a lot of "you gotta do this or you gotta do that" in the civilian world. At Walter Reed I experience a lot of just getting it done.

Healing is taking place. Individuals are working with techniques and training routines that are unimaginable to most of us and yet it's how their days work.

I challenge you to find your yoga. Find your path outside the habits of doubt, worry, and fear.

Put you mind, body, and spirit into moving forward.


This post was guided by the 53rd stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down has a website. Check it out.

If you like the AD Facebook page and I'll email you the PDF of a book called "Mindfulness in Practical English".

Lisa Wimberger's meditations:

Grounding Your Armor

Neutral Space

Mind Cordon

Riding the Sun

Thrive as a civilian.


  1. It's amazing to experience the capabilities of our bodies. If only we all knew just how much.

    Check back in with an occasional Yoga update. It sounds like it's workin' for ya. Who knows...I might try it. :)