I was first introduced to Star Wars twenty years ago when the original films were released back into the theatre for the twentieth anniversary of the first film. I spent the summer of my 14th year watching the films over and over again and reading every Star Wars novel I could find. Thankfully, my brother had a good collection to get me started on.
I think what attracted me to the films was the characters. I loved Han Solo, Chewie, Luke, Leia, and of course the two droids, C3-P0 and R2-D2. I was never a big fan of Vader, I kind of thought he looked worse than he was. A few years later when Episode One: The Phantom Menace was released, I had my suspicions about Vader confirmed. Maybe it was that I listen to Obi Wan when he said that Anakin was a good man and it never really went away.
Star Wars is now forty years old and has such a legacy behind it now, it has become a cultural icon. When I was in my yoga teacher training, we talked about how the Jedi and Force is similar to the spiritual practice of yoga and the awakening of Kundalini energy. If you were to insert “Breath” instead of “Force” in much of Obi Wan and Yoga’s dialog in the films, you would see an amazing amount of similarities.
I was taking my teacher’s training when Episode Seven: The Force Awakens came out. There’s there moment where Rey is battling Kylo Ren in the forest and she is getting more and more angry and her use of the Force is getting weaker and weaker. Then all of a sudden she stops fighting herself and let’s go. In that moment the Force returns to her stronger.
Have you had a time when you were practising yoga and you were so busy forcing yourself into a posture, using all of your will power, that you forgot to breath and could not hold the pose? What happened when you let go of that will power and just let your breath lead you? You are suddenly able to hold that pose with little effort.
George Lucas himself once said that the Force is like yoga and that anyone can use it if they allow it to happen. They have to surrender to it in order to let it move through them. There’s a great line in the newest Star Wars film, Rogue One, where blind warrior Chirrut chants “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me.” While he’s not a Jedi, he certainly has surrendered to the Force and it does move through him.
“I am one with the Force, the Force is with me,” has now become a mantra for many Star Wars fans. In a sense, it’s like saying, “om namo bhagavate vasudevaya,” in yoga, which means, “Divine will be done.”
So, in conclusion for this happy Star Wars day of May the Fourth, I encourage you to go watch all eight Star Wars films and look for the yoga in them and see what you can find!