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Warrior Pose – Virabhadrasana Vinyasa

23 Aug 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

Warrior Pose Virabhadrasana

Virabhadrasana ( Warrior Pose )

Virabhadrasana ( Warrior Pose ) is the name of a legendary warrior created by Shiva ‘s wrath . This Vinyasa combines both open and closed hip standing poses that challenge the strength and flexibility of the lower back and hips . These poses can empower or overpower students depending upon the teacher`s sensitivity to their students abilities and limitations . Done in the sequence of this Vinayasa , the poses  are more approachable and digestible then done in isolaltion .

Siva Virabhadra story (transforming wrath )

Daksha was a great and powerful trantrik yogi , whose power had given him a swollen head, believing himself to being a god . He married prasuti , a daughter of Manu , the universal lawyer , and had 16 beautiful daughters . The youngest Sati , became the second wife of Shiva – Bhava , onne of Shiva `s eight forms , known for his serenity and compete detachment from the world . As the ruler of transformation , Shiva  had a special love for death and rebirth , and could often be found doing his tantrik practices at the cremation grounds .

One day Daksha decided to throw a big party in his own honor in order to impress the world with the supernatural powers he had gained through mastery of the sacrificial fire , yagna  . But he did not want to invite his son –in –law Shiva because of his  unclean practice . Daksha became indignant at the thought of Shiva`dirty  body covered with ashes from the cremation ground disrupting his  ceremony . He didn`t want him anywhere near his special guests , so he did not include Shiva among the gods to whom he offered the  yagna . Big mistake …

Sati was by nature pious and dutiful , and so her father`s exclusion of her husband from the ceremony humiliated her and left her depondent for days . She could  not conceive of a way that could reconcile the two major men in her life . Out  of  her depression ,accompanied by morose and suicidal thoughts , she threw herself into the fire that was to consume the sacred offerings . News of this shocking event soon reached Shiva`s first wife , Parvati . (bad news travel fast , even in the days before satellite TV ) . When she told Shiva , initially he was unmoved . Out of empathy of Parvati`s distress, he felt compelled to take revevnge , It his shoft into a defstructive rage , Shiva tore  the hair from his matted head  and threw it on the ground .

Out of Shiva `s wrath sprang a powerful warrior . Virabhadra , with three eyes , four arms , and tusks protruding from his mouth . He wore a garland of skulls and held a trident in one right hand and a club in one left hand . His  other hands displayed the mudra signs of compassion :Abhaya Mudra ( a gesture capable of dispelling fear ) with an open palm facing up , and Varada Mudra ( a gesture of bestowing boons ) with an open palm facing down . Virabhadra was sent to destroy the fire ceremony . He appeared like a hurricane , destroyed the sacrifice , and massacred the unrighteous complacent bystanders . The virtous guests fled to seek Shiva`s grace and forgiveness for their foolishness .Once Daksha was found , he was be-headed by Virabhadra , who threw the severed head into  the  yagna`s fires .

Shiva`s revenge was complex . Later that ight sati spoke to Shiva in a dream , imploring him to give her father back his lige . Shiva consented to restore his  life but not his head . This he replaced with the head of a ram . The karma  complete , Sati could be reborn as Uma and Godess of the Himalayas . She lived many years in seclusion in the remote valleys and caves of the Himalayas until completing her spiritual training . Then she once again became Shiva`s second bride . And they lived happily ever after .

Precautions of Warrior Pose

Do not do this Vinyasa if you have an acute knee injury . However , collectively the poses making up the variations of Vidrabhadrasana are quite beneficial for recovering a healthy knee following injuries . Be especially careful to make sure your knees are properly positioned . If you don`t stable in the standing posess in-crease the side –to-side width of your foot placement . This adjustment is especially beneficial in relieving strains to your ineer knees and sacroiliac region .

Instructions of Virabhadrasana ( Warrior Pose )

  1. Stand in an erect standing steady posture . (Samasthiti)
  2. Exhale ans step wide apart so your feet are three feet apart .
  3. INHALE stretch your arms our  and overhead interlacing your fingers .
  4. Exhale form an outward finger lock as you turn your hips to face squarely to your left . Check your foot angles out slightly ( 2`o clock ) . INHALE and ex- tend you spine , lifting up out of  your waist .
  5. EXHALE bending your  left knee until your shin is perpendicular  to the  floor  . This is Warrior I . Hold the position for  three steady breaths . Then on the  next .
  6. INHALE bring your palms to your heart in the Namaste gesture .EXHALE staying still .
  7. INHALE your arms up overhead into an outward finger lock as you straigten your left knee .
  8. Exhale forward bend , lowering  your hands  towards your left ankle . INHALE extend your spine forward .
  9. EXHALE lowering your head so that your forehead is closer to your shin . Repeat the  last two motions three times , gradually lengthening your spine to comfortable capacity as you lower your hands toward the floor . This  is the side Stretch pose , Parsvottanasana . Stay here for 3 breaths .
  10. INHALE lift your torso to an upright position with a rms overhead . EXHALE  lower arms  parallel to the floor at shoulder height and at the same foot at 9`o clock and the right foot at 10 `o clock . INHALE  fully lengthening your  spine and arms .
  11. EXHALE move your torso as a unit from your hip joint and bring your left hand to rest on your mid-shin , Steady yourself for three breaths in the Ex- tended triangle position , Utthita trikonasana . If you can maintain cervical alignmrnt INHALE rotate your head to look at your extended right thumb , palm facing front .
  12. INHALE and lift up to standing , resuming position
  13. EXHALE bend your left knee until your shin comes perpendicular to the floor with your torso remaining vertical to form Warrior II , Virabhadrasana . Stay for three breaths .
  14. INHALE return to centre standing position with fingers interlaced overhead. then repeat all the poses on the right side .
  15. After completing the postures on both sides return to standing steady pose , and remain there to feel the effects of the warrior Vinyasa . Lie down in Savasana and feel the benefits .

Notes for polishing your practice

The muscles of the hips are intricate and they interact with eachother in various combinations that tend to both strengthen and bind the pelvic girdle to the spinal column . To help facilitate a balance  of stamina yet freedom to these dynamic forces of the spinal column, I encourage doing micro –movements with the basic four asanas of this sequence . They consists of repetitively doing pelvic tilt and thrust , sideways pelvic swing ( lifting up on one hip socket while descending the other ) , and drawing a circle  with the pelvis . By repeating these motions 6-10 times in each position you will be creating freedom of the joints and stamina in the deeper muscular tissues . These micro motions may also bring up emotional patterns held by restricted pelvic mobility . This benefit can be pursued in individual Ayurvedic  Yoga Therapy sessions if you are not comfortable giving expression to these emotions and energies in class .

Opening your feet to an increasing wider stance is a great way to challenge the capacity of your body to adapt to change . Keep in mind that  the increased stance will place increased pressure at both your hip joints and your sacral ligaments . So , these are beneficial only if you have no concerns for these delicate regions of your anatomy . Incresing the width of your base or the depth of your  pelvis is not recommended until you have spent time with the micro-movements to free up the pelvis .

Benefits of Virabhadrasana ( Warrior Pose )

Standing positions with both open and closed hip variations powerfully work the muscles of the thighs and buttocks . These postures  provide balance to hips , pelvis, and spine through the strong opposing movements of the closed versus the opened hip positions . By giving plenty of time with these poses Yoga students can make  wonderful strides in their capacity to do comfortable seated poses. This series can definitely increase your comfort in all forms of sitting . The Warrior pose , especially variation on , dramatically opens the respiratory muscles and begins to enhance their stamina . Overtime increase your holding time of each of  these primary organs postures to optimize the benefit .

The warrior is a powerful image and certainly one of the most dynamic postures in Yoga . The Warrior is especially beneficial in creating strength and stamina by challenging your endurance . The sequence includes both open and closed hips variations of Virabhadrasana . The open hip positions (Warrior I and extended triangle ) create a powerful strectching of  the adductors  , which comprise the greatest bulk of the thigh as well as toning the outer thigh and hip . Moving between bowed legs and knock –knees as well as weak ankles , particularly fallen arches or flat feet . Also , strectching the inner thighs ( adductors ) is beneficial for runners as an important factor in preventing injuries to these muscles  as well as their posterior neighbours the hamstrings .

The closed hip positions ( Warrior I and Side Stretch ) reverse the effects of open hip positions , thus  strengthing the groin ( adductors ) while stretching the outer thighs and buttocks (hip extensors and external rotators )

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