The disarming sound and the smell of fuel coming from the Armored Fighting Vehicles spooling up was modestly distracting. I was leading a contingent of 40 warriors from the 1st Regiment Royal Canadian Horse Artillery through their first session of Kokoro Yoga. These men and women, such hardy soldiers, didn’t seem to notice given their daily exposure to the monstrous vehicles. But, to be safe, I took it outside where we finished up the dynamic mental, physical and spiritual training.
We practiced numerous breathing exercises and traditional pose sequences like Sun Sal A and Warrior 1. We performed breath movement techniques known to the esoteric Russian martial system called Systema. And, of course, we worked up a killer sweat and team spirit with striking and kicking combinations. Then we meditated…for 15 minutes.
This was their first exposure to Kokoro Yoga, which was born out of my own deep personal practice of yoga and forged in the deserts of Iraq. I have been teaching this brand of warrior development to Navy SEAL candidates and other SEALFIT athletes since 2007, and we have all found it extraordinarily effective at developing a host of skills and traits valuable to the warrior.
This post is an introduction to a short blog series on how and why Kokoro Yoga is such an effective training method for warrior athletes (as well as any busy, high performing professional). Topics I will explore in this series include:
1. What is Yoga and why the heck would a warrior want to do it?
2. How is Kokoro Yoga different than Hot Yoga (and others!)
3. The science of mental development
4. Integrating the body-mind-heart and spirit of a warrior
5. How to train Kokoro yoga, anywhere
Michael, my publisher, was intrigued by how we had SEALs and Special Operators doing yoga to make them more effective in combat, more present at home with the wife and kids, and less apt to suffer from the nasty effects of PTSD. This resulted in a book about Kokoro Yoga written by me and my stepdaughter Catherine, who is leading our Kokoro yoga training business.
The sight of those 40 soldiers meditating in the barren landscape of central Canada was very motivating and gave me great confidence that we are moving rapidly to a more evolved warrior class and greater consciousness as a race. Unit Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Taylor, participating alongside his troops with a determined look, considered this training essential to bringing greater resiliency and durability to his men and women soldiers. He is at the vanguard of young officers and enlisted warriors embracing the power of yoga to forge resilience and mental strength. I hope you find this series valuable and can adopt some of the strategies and tactics of a daily Kokoro Yoga practice. It has strengthened my own warrior spirit, and I know it will do the same for you.
Kokoro Yoga – by warriors, for warriors.
P.S. We’re hosting a Kokoro Yoga 30 Day Challenge beginning on October 1st. Experience all that encompasses Kokoro Yoga-refined movement, breath, mantra, meditation and visualization, in just 15 minutes a day! Over the course of 30 days, you’ll create a daily routine, meet some amazing people and experience new ways to strengthen your mind and body. Click HERE to join the Kokoro Yoga 30 Day Challenge!