Or, where I compare the Star Wars franchise to the teachings of yoga.
Or, I should say, where yoga becomes apparent in Star Wars through the weird talking of Yoda.
Or, not unlike the Force, yoga is.
Ok, so little background to this post. My husband is a full-fledged nerd. We recently celebrated being a couple for seven years. During those years, I have unknowingly picked up some nerdy interests of my own. His, however, continues to grow vastly. He plays Magic the Gathering. He reads comic books. He loves Dr. Who and Nathan Fillion and Tabletop. I don’t make fun of him for these things (well, not seriously making fun of him – it’s more of a lighthearted poking), but love him harder for his unabashed enjoyment of these things. As most of the world knows, Star Wars is releasing a new movie next week. My husband is very excited about this. In prep for the new release, we have been re-watching the original Star Wars. (By original I mean episodes 4, 5, and 6. I still have not seen episodes 1, 2, and 3.)
While we were watching these movies, I noticed something: The force? Oh yeah, it’s yoga. I started doing something truly nerdy of my own – I started taking notes. Like, had my husband pause the movie while Yoda was talking so I could write down verbatim what yogic principles were so wisely being stated. Ya’ll. It was fun. So, here are my observations:
- Yoda is old, but he is wise. He’s also really weird. Is he high when we first meet him in this swamp land? He seems high.
- Yoda preaches patience. Luke is all “I wanna help the galaxy NOW NOW NOW!” and Yoda is all “dude, calm down. You must first learn the tools.” Or something along those lines. Luke is very impatient, but Yoda continues to sit all serene in lotus pose and never gets frustrated. Yoda values that time must be put in to things that will eventually be great. (Yoda also models this skill beautifully.) If we rush to the results, we will not learn what we truly needed. Isn’t this similar in yoga, too? So often I see yogis rush to get the poses perfect instead of enjoying the journey. Patience, young grasshopper.
- Yoda emphasizes the present. “All his life he has looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm? What he was doing. Hmph?” Hmph’s aside, this is spot on what yoga is trying to teach (in my opinion). Yes, we should have hopes and dreams for the future, but what good is constantly worrying about it now going to do? Why skip out on the good parts of right now?
- Yoda encourages hard work and commitment. “A Jedi’s strength flows from the force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression – the dark side of the force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in the fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” Yoda also goes on to state that the dark side is “quicker, easier, more seductive.” Comparing this to our modern world, the dark side is quicker, easier, and sexier. Actually working through your internal problems? Psh, why do that when you can take a drug for it, or booze away our feelings? Yoga teaches us that we have to work through our issues to truly find peace within ourselves.* And where ever we are on that journey? Yoga (and the Force) accepts that without question or judgement. It’s really a beautiful thing. “You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive.”
*Counseling teaches us this, too. Another reason counseling and yoga are one in the same to me.
- Luke literally does a handstand. One handed. With little Yoda sitting on top of him. HE IS PRACTICING ASANAS. (Word for word from my notes because I crack myself up.) When he is practicing the physical aspect of the Force, he gets distracted by a vision of Leia and Han in trouble and loses the pose. You have to focus, both in yoga and with the Force.
Are your heads exploding yet?
- Is Yoda B.K.S. Iyengar? I think Yoda is modeled after Iyengar. Both are considered masters of their art. George Lucas, you sneaky man.
- Yoda is Yoga with a D! I mean, how much more obvious can Lucas get?!
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
I definitely could have gone a lot deeper with this, and the internet has. (No surprise.) I wanted a light and fun post today, and I’m pretty amused with the final results. I hope you are, too.
If you’re interested in more about yoga and Star Wars, check out these articles:
Also, there’s this little picture I’ve seen floated around the internet several times. It makes me smile, so here it is one more time:
I’m curious to know what you all think… am I making too far of a jump here? Did I miss any obvious points? What other yoga principles found in Star Wars did I skip over that you wish had been included here? Are there other movies that portray similar ideals that I should watch? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Happy OMing and Namaste. ❤