When Two Tribes Go To War
Ki Teitzei 5770/2010
KOSHER SUTRA When you go to war against your enemies (Deut 21:10)
SOUL SOLUTION Banish negative thoughts
BODY BENEFITS Strengthens arms and legs.

The British band Culture Club said it best in the 1980’s: “War, war is stupid. People are stupid. Love means nothing in some strange quarters”. True though it may be, we all go to war on a regular basis. We may fight with family and friends but the most painful battle of all is the one that rages inside our heads.Our full Kosher Sutra reads as follows: ‘When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your power…’. A 20th Century commentator the Sfat Emet noted that we have negative thoughts that create fight-like conditions inside our heads. The yetzer hara is the slew of self-destructive thoughts that can stop us from living our life with joy and ease.

A key yogic text is the Bhagavad Gita and it begins on the battlefield although the commentaries make it clear that this war is representative of our internal war. The aim of all the warriors is to realise the sense of yoga – yoga means ‘oneness’ and the objective is to see beyond the earthly turbulence and to realise that all is one. This takes practice which is why all spiritual practices need to take place on a daily basis; even if it’s just 10 minutes of yoga, 5 minutes of prayer or meditation – do what you can manage – but whatever you do succeed in accomplishing will reap great rewards.

There is a time to go to war and the time is now, to beat our negative thoughts and stamp them out. But how? Negative thinking is often based around our limitations – ‘how am I going achieve X, Y or Z?’. We can win this battle by staying in engaged and continuing to ‘fight’ it. The idea of staying within a yoga pose when we are tired and feeling the fatigue is that we train ourselves to overcome the inner voice that is telling us to relax and drop out of it. We are going to battle with our limiting thoughts and overcoming. The battle takes place inside, which, after all, is where all wars start, but this is a battle we can win when we commit our mind and body to the fight.

Marcus J Freed (c) 2010


i. Begin in Downwards-facing dog. Place your left foot so that it is parallel to the back of the mat. Complete steps ii and iii on one inhale.
ii. Step your right foot towards the front of your mat, ensuring that your right knee is directly above your right ankle.
iii. Raise both hands above your head, pushing your palms together.
iv. Turn your torso so that it is facing forwards.
v. Push into the outside edge of your left foot, raising the arch on the foot and allowing the energy to flow through your left leg right the way up to the tips of your fingers.
v. Rotate your left hip so that it is facing forwards.
vi. When you are ready to exit the posture, take a deep inhale and exhale yourself down to a low plank position. Draw yourself through to cobra on an inhale.

Benefits: Strengthens the legs, ankles, shoulders and arms. Stretches the groin and legs. Teaches stability.

Modification: If absolutely necessary, carry out the pose with your left knee on the ground.

Advanced: Hold the posture on each side for three minutes.

Warrior One