Watch Where You Aim That Arrow!
Archery is said date back to the stone age (around 20,000 BC), and while most people don’t go out and hunt their food with a bow and arrow, it is alive today in sport. This year you can see it in the Olympics.
The Archer Reveals the Secrets of Life
Archer pose requires steadiness, focus, and strength. When you step forward on one foot, hold up your bow and pull back on your arrow and enter the spirit of the archer. The head and arrow should turn towards the target.
In children’s yoga, archer pose requires coordination of the arms and legs. When kids are doing it, make sure the same arm and leg are forward, in the same fashion as traditional archery.
What is your Target?
The gift of Archer Pose comes when we realize that the archer needs a target. If we don’t point the arrow at the bullseye, we won’t hit the target. In life we also need targets, especially those set from our center. Our target is our vision of what we want.
I recommend Ancient Secrets of Success for Today’s World by Tulshi Sen for a beautiful description of Archer Pose. Here is part of it (p. 80):
The Union of the Archer with the Mark
“When the target, the bullseye, the arrow, the pulled bow, and the archer become One, then the archer releases the arrow. The target of an archer is the intention. The arrow is the concentration of the intention into a vision on the arrowhead. The bow is the mind and the archer is consciousness.”
In Archery if you miss the target, you try again. This is Sadhana. An Olympian has to have a strong Sadhana to make it to the games.
In the stone age, if an archer could not hit the target, he went hungry. Now if we do not have a vision for our life we can go spiritually under-nourished. We feel the pain of separation and lack of connection. Life can feel empty without a target.
Teaching Principles of Happiness with Yoga
With Archer Pose we build all the muscles it takes to “go for the gold” and hit the targets that we set. We do not go hungry, but realize that life is a banquet. This is the message we intend to get across when we incorporate the Olympics and Archer Pose into kid’s classes.