But the similarities do not end there, in both disciplines there is a direct relationship between the mind, body and breath; and it is ultimately the breath which points in the direction of emancipation through the joining of the mind and body to first create integration in the individual, before this can manifest to a deeper level of integration with the Universe.
The Zen-like principles of aikido emphasise that the true path to peace is letting go, both on a physical and mental level. As long as an attacker is seen as the enemy there will always be conflict. The founder of Aikido said that, "the only enemy is the enemy within", and that to conquer our own fear and anger is the path towards peace. Yoga too encourages surrender: letting the mind go, being in the present, relinquishing striving and pushing; and it stresses that it is the process, not the destination, which is of importance.
The ultimate aim of aikido is to free the individual from this fear and anger, and it can be achieved by constantly choosing not to hurt someone. The techniques of Aikido are extremely powerful and potentially dangerous, so each time a technique is trained and a path of non-resistant caring for your partner is used, it allows an integration of these emotions leading to its understanding, and finally a transformation into something else, which ultimately becomes love.
A parallel exists in yoga as practitioners confront their own emotions. When working through poses, people often experience anger, fear, judgment, and vulnerability which can be transmuted through a conscious process of acceptance and release. And eventually the realization that out of relaxation comes power - power over the self, in its many and varied forms.
At our dojo we also have a yoga instructor, see Yoga classes for details