April Pose of the Month
Virabhadrasana 3 - Warrior 3
Vira - Hero, Bhadr - Friend, Asana - Pose (Known as Warrior Pose)
Level One Pose
April brings us Virabhadrasana III. In March we spent time stroking our internal fire and activating our Solar Plexus which is related to our personal power and motivation. Now its time to begin to take action towards your vision, goal or ambition otherwise it will remain just a dream. Virabhadrasana 3 will encourage you to charge forward and to take that action.
The mythology behind Virabhadrasana - The Warrior Poses isn't a pleasant one. It stems from a family feud. A lord named Shiva married the daughter of a powerful king named Daksha who opposed the marriage between Shiva and his Daughter and cut her off from the family. She went to her father to try and appease him but to no avail, instead he humiliated her. She got so angry with her father that she decided to sever all ties to him... including her earthly body and killed herself . When Shiva heard of this news he was deeply saddened at first and then enraged, so enraged that he striped of his clothes and pulled out his hair. The legend says that when he threw his hair to the earth he created a fierce warrior named Virabhadr who he ordered to kill everyone in the kingdom and behead Daksha !
Virabhadrasana I represents the moment when the warrior arrives at Daksha's kingdom he did so by thrusting his whole body up through the earth with his sword held with both hands over his head.
Virabhadrasana II represents the moment he made his presence known with his sword ready to strike, his focus and energy on his target.
Virabhadrasana III represents the moment he took action. He lifted his sword into the air and quickly and precisely severed the head of King Daksha.
Shiva arrived to the city shortly afterwards and Virabhadr was absorbed back into his body. When he seen the destruction that he had caused he no longer felt angry but was filled with sorrow. He showed compassion to his father in law by taking his headless body and gave him a new head (of a goat) and brought him back to life. The king bowed to Shiva and no longer loathed him but called him the kind one! Shiva picked up the lifeless body of Sati and lived a life of solitude.
Now I know yoga is supposed to be all about love and light which on the surface this story doesn't appear to be. We all have our own internal battles and struggles and this is what the story is trying to portray. The story is symbolic, Shiva (and his incarnation Virabhadr) represent the higher self doing battle with the arrogant ego (Daksha) in name of love and the heart (Sati).
When we practice warrior poses we are not celebrating the destruction and carnage but instead we acknowledge that our own spiritual warriors doing battle on a daily basis with our own ego and aviyda (self ignorance) which is the cause of all our internal suffering.
So on the quest to reaching our own personal goals and ambitions we are constantly fighting with ourselves... that little voice inside your own head that tells you that you can't do it, or your not good enough or its just too hard, why bother, I don't feel like it etc etc etc. These are the thoughts that we want to overcome and replace them with new thoughts, habits and ideas. Therefore lets make April a month for taking action even if it's just one step closer towards your goal and Virabhradrasana 3 can symbolise that action.... even with the wobbles and struggles that you might face within the pose itself.
ENERGETIC AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Sharpens your focus
Trains you to stay present during difficult situations
Teaches the mind to relax and let go of tensions you don't need
Invigorating and energising
Strengthens feet, ankles, legs and hips
Strengthens the muscles in your back and shoulders
Can calm the nervous system
Can reduce anxiety
Can improve digestion
CAUTION & CONTRAINDICATIONS
High blood pressure
Recent ankle, knee or hip injury
HINTS & TIPS
Bending the standing leg can help with balance
Energise the lifted leg, this will allow your body to feel lighter
A great tip from Jason Crandell - Imagine you are simply doing locust pose on one leg. This can help you engage all the right muscles on the back so you feel more lifted and lighter so all of your weight isn't on the standing leg but the work is distributed and balance throughout the body