A few days ago I heard someone proposing strength as the main theme to work on during 2022. The truth is, initially, I felt quite uncomfortable and the first thought that popped in my mind was “are we supposed to get even stronger?!”, but I took a deep breath in and said to myself “c´mon Zaira, you can always grow a little more”. However, I slowly started to love the idea since it is one of the five yogic virtues that help us find inner peace, especially when in turbulent times. I hope that this January´s spark of inspiration increases the inner strength that always resides within your heart.
You might know of strength as a virtue because already in Ancient Greece it was considered as such, and Christianity inherited it and described it as what helps us defeat fear, breaking away from fright. This is interesting, don´t you think? Given that fear is the densest and most present emotion in our contemporary environment.
Approaching this from the yogic´s perspective, the Yoga Sutra explains how the qualities that bring us to inner peace (fear being one of them) work in synergy, while at the same time, unfold sequentially. For instance, we have already seen this happening with the eight steps in the ashtanga yoga system, which are exposed in that same book. One of the things that makes this way of evolving so rich is that it directly places us in an out of time state: everything happens at the same time while each element grounds itself in the presence of the previous ones.
Back to the virtues I mentioned before, let me enumerate them so you can have a clearer picture: faith, strength, good recollection about our past, contemplation and discernment. Virya is the Sanskrit term that means strength and it is the second one. Notice how in order to increase, it is necessary for faith to be well established within ourselves, working together with the other virtues, being our capacity to remember what we have lived until now, to contemplate it and to be capable of discerning with equanimity in order to learn from our mistakes, as well as from the good deeds. Doing this we are placed on an evolutionary path, as the application of such virtues always takes us somewhere further along, whether we want to or not. When faith is placed on something that we have previously contemplated and discerned, it allows us to perceive an outline of our destiny, which gives us a sense of direction we can walk towards, as long as we increase our determination, the resilience of our awareness and our vigor. These last ones being unfoldings of our inner strength.
Virya is fiery, robust, intense and penetrating. Pertaining to great heroes and heroines, to the luminous warriors that we are as yogins, who are willing to encounter the greatest challenges in order to channel and ground more and more Light each day, against all odds. When I heard that strength was suggested as next year´s focal point, it also made me smile because it reminded me of something I teach in my classes: life, nor the inner path, is for wimps. So, dear ones, let´s sharpen all our spiritual tools properly, put on an iridescent armour and get ready to ride the storm, fearlessly, full trusting, with a clear mind and overflowing happiness in our hearts. Ahead of us lies a year packed with fluctuations and our personal practice is essential as a catalyst for the transformation of human civilization.