According to Hindu mythology (specifically the Mahabharata), there was a certain Lord Shiva who loved the daughter, Sati, of his enemy, Daksha. Daksha refused to accept Shiva, even when Shiva and Sati were married. This animosity between Sati’s father and husband upset her so greatly that she killed herself.
Distraught by his wife’s death, myth tells that Shiva created the fiercest warrior from a bead of sweat on his forehead. This warrior’s name was Virabhadra, and Shiva set him out to destroy those who had caused the death of his beloved Sati.
In Dr. Svoboda’s dynamic book The Greatness of Saturn, he describes Virabhadra as looking “like a flaming fire, having many heads and many eyes, and tens of thousands of arms and legs. The embodiment of concentrated might…”
The fiery power of Virabhadra takes form in three different Warrior poses, this being the second. So, each time you perform Virabhadrasana I, II or III, think of the mighty conqueror from which your posture gets its name. Feel that and try to embody it.
Getting Into Warrior II Pose:
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale and lift your arms over your head, then bring your hands into prayer position at your chest. Take several long, deep breaths before stepping your feet 4-5 ft. apart and simultaneously raising your arms parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Actively reach out to the sides, drawing your shoulder blades apart.
At this point, your feet should be parallel to each other and your heels in line. Now, turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out 90 degrees to the right. Make sure to keep your heels in line. Firm your thighs and turn the right one outward. Notice that everything is pointing to your right.
Now, exhale and bend your right knee over your right ankle so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Bring your right thigh parallel to the floor if possible. To anchor yourself in Virabhadrasana II, firm your left leg and press the outer part of your left heel into the floor. Tuck your tailbone in slightly. Your weight should be distributed evenly on both feet, and your arms should stay outstretched and parallel to the floor throughout this movement.
Once you have your lower body in place, focus on your upper body. It should be centered over your hips, keeping both sides of your torso equally long. Avoid leaning over your right thigh. Turn your head to the right and look out over your fingers. Hold posture for several long, deep breaths. Inhale as you come up, then repeat with your left leg forward.
Benefits of Warrior II Pose:
Strengthens and stretches your legs, ankles and feet
- Stretches your hips, groins and shoulders
- Opens your chest and lungs
- Builds stamina and concentration
- Energizes tired limbs
- Stimulates your abdominal organs
- Helps relieve backaches, especially through your 2nd trimester
- Develops balance and stability
- Improves circulation and respiration
- Therapeutic for flat fleet, sciatica, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel and infertility