The WarYoga Akhara, Vedic Protocol of WarYoga, is a holistic system of both strength and conditioning for grapplers, as well as a philosophical and spiritual path from the Indic branch.
Vyayam is the name given to the various strength and conditioning exercises performed in the akharas (grappling and strength temple-gyms) of India by Kushti wrestlers. There are several elements: Bethak (Hindu Squat), Dand (Hindu Push Up), Sapate (Hindu Burpee), Gada (Mace), Gar Nal (Stone Neck Ring), Sumtola (Log Bell), Jori (Heavy Clubs), Rope Climb and Mallakhamb (Wrestler’s Pole). Not all of the exercises are performed by everybody, as some have become specialised disciplines in themselves. Tom Billinge of WarYoga has trained in the akharas of India on several occasions and has honed his techniques with gurus from an unbroken lineage stretching back hundreds of years.
The WarYoga Akhara also incorporates concepts from traditional Indian alchemy. The body is a furnace, which is heated through tapas (austerity). Tapas literally means heat and fire. The exercises generate heat, making the body move as a yantra (magical machine). This heat begins the inner transformation of the tapasvin (person undertaking the austerities), bringing the disparate of parts of the self to the centre. Like an alchemical furnace, the essence of the self is distilled and collected in the cranium, the condensation chamber of the body. The ultimate goal is to create an adamantine vessel of jivanmukhti (transcendence in this lifetime).
Agni, or fire, is central to the WarYoga Akhara system. The main ritual element is the Agnihotra. This ancient rite has been performed twice a day, every day, since the Vedic era, some 3500 years ago. It is an ancient Indo-European ritual, where cow dung is burned in a special bronze vessel at sunrise and again at sunset. Ghee and whole rice grains are cast into the fire while chanting the appropriate mantra. Like the recitation of the Vedas themselves, this ritual sustains the universe. When the Vedas and the rituals cease, so does existence.
Churning the Earth
The mitti (sacred earth) of the wrestling pit is essential to the WarYoga Akhara. This mitti has been turned daily for centuries. It has been purified countless times with ghee, turmeric, sandalwood, rose petals and neem leaves. It has had the sweat and blood of wrestlers mingled with it since the akharas were founded hundreds of years ago. Tom has added his sweat and blood to the wrestling pits in India. He also brought back mitti that is charged with “phoorti” – the electric energy that courses through the wrestler’s body. The Indian mitti has been added to the earth of the WarYoga Akharas, creating wrestling pits that are connected to each other and to those in India.
We continue the daily work. We refine our techniques and philosophy. We cultivate ourselves and connect with those who are on the same journey. WarYoga is a system of purification that involves austerity through exercise, grappling, internal alchemy, ancient Indo-European ritual and the practice of true magic.
The WarYoga book is available now for those who want to deepen their understanding.