Happy November, Yogis!
As we welcome the holiday season, we are often reminded of family traditions and stories, dating back years and years. I thought that, in this spirit, November would be a great opportunity for us to look into the mythology and traditions of our Yoga postures.
This month’s featured pose, Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2), derives from the story of the warrior Virabhadra (the litteral translation from Sanskrit is “Virabhadra’s pose”).
Virabhadra is a creation of Shiva, the destroyer. His mission, as depicted in the warrior asana sequences, is to slay Daksha, father of Sati. Sati was married to Shiva, but took her own life after being unable to reconcile a disagreement with her father. And so, Shiva created Virabhadra to go to a party being thrown by Daksha, and behead him in front of all of his guests.
The Warrior 1 posture represents Virabhadra arriving to the party and bearing his swords, Warrior 2 represents his locating his foe and preparing to strike, and Warrior 3 represents the beheading. What a happy Christmastime story!
Let’s take a look at how to safely and strongly get yourself into Warrior 2:
- Begin in tadasana (neutral standing)
- Rotate 90 degrees so you are now facing one of the long sides of your mat
- Step your feet out wide, 3ish feet apart (this will vary depending on your body)
- Extend your arms out long so that your torso is making a lower case letter T shape
- Rotate your front foot perpendicular to the top side of your mat
- Bend your front knee 90 degrees – stack your knee over your ankle joint
- Gaze out over your front hand
As with every posture, modify according to what your body needs!
Next time you strike this pose, think of its namesake and the focus he must have had as he spotted his target. What is it that you are approaching with this ferocity in your own life? See it, gaze intently at it, and conquer it.