Side view of Virabhadrasana II
|English name(s)||Virabhadrasana I
Warrior Pose II
|Sanskrit||वीरभद्रासन / Vīrabhadrāsana|
|dṛṣṭi (eye focus)||Hastagrahe dṛṣṭi (to palm)|
|Asana type||Standing Asanas|
|Muscles working||hamstrings, gluteus maximus|
The myth is that the powerful priest Daksha made a great yagna (ritual sacrifice) but did not invite his youngest daughter Sati and her husband Shiva, the supreme ruler of the universe. But Sati found out and decided to go alone to the yagna. But when she arrived, Sati entered into an argument with her father. But unable to withstand the insults she spoke a vow to her father, “Since it was you who gave me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it.” She walked to the fire and threw herself into it. When Shiva heard of Sati’s death, he was devastated. He yanked out a lock his hair and beat it into the ground, where up rose a powerful Warrior. Shiva named this warrior, Virabhadra. Vira (hero) + Bhadra (friend) and ordered him to go to the yagna and destroy Daksha and all his guests.
- Virabhadra's first aspect, (Vīrabhadrāsana I) is his arrival, with swords in both hands, thrusting his way up through the earth from below.
- In his second aspect, (Vīrabhadrāsana II) he sights his opponent, Daksha.
- In his third aspect (Vīrabhadrāsana III), moving swiftly and precisely, he decapitates Daksha’s with his sword.
Shiva then arrives at the yagna and sees the rout that Virabhadra had wrought. Shiva absorbs Virabhadra back into his own form and then transforms into Hare, the ravisher. Filled with sorrow and compassion Shiva finds Daksha’s body and giving it the head of a goat, brings him back to life. In the end Sati is also reborn.
Virabhdadra is not simply a bloody warrior. Like Shiva, he destroys to save: his real enemy is the ego. “By cutting off the head of the ego, Virabhadra helps remind us to humble ourselves.
- Starting from Tāḍāsana
- The arms are stretched up, palm touching.
- Inhaling spread the legs sideways by jumping or stepping, creating a gap of 2/3 body height.
- Exhaling turn the trunk facing to the left while rotating the left foot 90° so it faces forward and the right foot so it points slightly to the right
- Bend the left knee till the thigh is parallel to the floor, avoid extending the bent knee past the ankle and keeping the other leg straight.
- Stretch the right leg, with the knee locked.
- The head, chest, left knee and left foot should be aligned facing forward.
- The head should be horizontal with the gaze on the second finger of the left hand.
- Hold the asana from one to four breaths.
- Return to Step 4 repeat on the other side.
- Finally exhale and jump into Tāḍāsana.
Use of bandhas increase the stability of the body in this asana. Both mula bandha (root lock) and uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock) should be engaged. This creates an axial extension in the spine which assists in supporting in the torso as the chest is brought up and back.
There are two ways to deepen this asana:
- by decreasing the lateral distance between the feet
- by increase the size of the stride
While the center of mass becomes lower, the base of support is reduced and it becomes increasingly more difficult to maintain balance and the correct posture.
- Tones the leg muscles.
- Increases flexibility of back and legs.
- Contracts the abdominal organs.
- Prepares practitioner to do the advanced forward bends.
This asana should be avoided by practitioners who have a weak heart. Other obstacles are:
- Tight latissimus
As the gap between the legs increases other problem may present:
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