The wizarding world is full of quaint, quirky fun like chocolate frogs and booger-flavored jelly beans. It’s also a vicious place where the few words of a forbidden curse can leave you a smoldering spot on the floor.
The extremes experienced by Harry Potter and crew require some structure to navigate, and interpersonal conflict is no exception–hence, the duel, a semi-civilized way to air your grievances with another wizard.
Stand opposite each other, bow, and raise your wand. Have at it with an Expelliarmus to start maybe, and keep flinging spells at each other until someone concedes (or turns into a snake.) No forbidden curses unless you’re a jerk.
The spells are the showy part, the fun part, the part where you are quick on your feet. But it’s the pose you strike right before that sets the tone. For Harry Potter, that’s a set, determined face with feet planted apart in a line and wand raised. In part this intimidates your opponent, which is always good. But it also gets you in the right mindset: you making yourself ready to take this on, even if you don’t feel like it. To use a muggle phrase, you about to “fake it until you make it.”
This is true of Jedi light saber battles as well, in which both sides dramatically throw off their cloaks and whirl their sabers around begin they begin.
It’s also true of Hamilton and Burr in the wonderful musical “Hamilton,” even if they agree at one point that “duels are dumb and immature.”
And it’s true of Warrior II pose in yoga. In this case you aren’t (probably) battling a dark wizard or a Sith lord. But when you stand at attention, arms extended, gaze set beyond your fingers, you kind of feeling like you are.
And we do have foes in our world as well; many, many of them. Some are at work or home, people we might like or love but still find in opposition to our goals. Others are more hostile, elements that threaten our minds or bodies or community. There are also evils in control who seek to poison our planet, take away our rights, and take from society our ideals of compassion and community.
We must all be ready to fight these foes in the best, most humane ways we can. Maybe it’s making a protest sign or calling your senator. Maybe it’s standing up for your idea at work that you know to be valuable. Maybe it’s never backing down in correcting the selfishness of your own child. Maybe it’s getting back on the mat to challenge your yoga practice after a break.
So often we feel tired at the thought of resisting our inertia. We don’t feel up to it for any number of reasons, maybe primarily a lack of self-confidence. But if you get into Warrior II pose, you are acting like you can give it a shot–and if you act like it, you find you are trying, and if you try, you might just find yourself doing. (Apologies to Yoda, sometimes trying is good too!).
Whenever you feel like you have a foe to duel and a battle to fight (and let’s face it, that’s every hour of every day, in one way or the other), Warrior pose will get you in the right place of body and of mind. Get your gaze beyond your reach and get ready to duel.