Experimenting with Virabhadrasana II.

Via on Nov 12, 2011

Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club

Reflections on Warrior II Pose

At the end of part one in his book The Four Desires, Rod Stryker reflects on the yoga posture Virabhadrasana II. Rod describes warrior II as “grounding and expansive… [it] strengthens as much as awakens a sense of grace and openness. Warrior II invites you to embody the boundless expanse of spirit and thereby prepares you to gracefully face whatever challenges stand in the way of prospering completely.” It is an asana we practice regularly. But how often do we tap into the essence of the warrior?

Virabhadra was born from one of Shiva’s matted locks of hair. Shiva’s wife Sati had sacrificed herself because neither she nor Shiva were invited to her father’s “great offering.” When Shiva found out what had happened he pulled a lock from his hair, threw it on the ground and Virabhadra was born to lead the army that avenged Sati’s death. A warrior was created to fight made from the grief and sadness of losing a lover.

Virabhadrasana II calls our attention towards balance. Looking at the shape of this pose we can imagine an archer taking his stance and looking one-pointed at his target. In order for an archer to have complete control, the archer must be stable, rooted and firm. She or he must posses the ability to pull back the bow with strength and let it go with ease to meet the target.

Let’s take a break from our desires, move into our yogi labs, and experiment with our asana practice. When we get to our mats and find our way into virabhadrasana II, let’s cultivate an image of a warrior.

Have the East side of the body (the front) invoke the strength, drive and courage of leading an army into battle. Allow the West side (back body) to reflect on the past–Shiva’s loss, our own experiences, and those events that shaped us the most.

As we raise our arms reaching one towards the east and the other towards the west, we can cultivate the present moment and feel our ability to face any challenge. Finally (if you’re still in the pose) make that whole experience an offering.

 

For this week, let’s experiment with virabhadrasana II to discover “the essential qualities that inspire us to grow, thrive and evolve.”

What did you experience in the pose? 
Did you try something new, or practice a little differently?
Can you connect your feelings of thriving to any of the four desires?

Aloha,
Chanti

Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works

About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education. http://www.ohanashakti.com

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21 Responses to “Experimenting with Virabhadrasana II.”

  1. HeatherR says:

    Sigh, thank you for the story of Shiva behind the pose. When I began Yoga TT our teacher asked us to go into the pose that best reflected our essence. I chose this pose. I was experiencing the same grief and yet challenge of avenging my own loss at the same time. the very essence of this pose spoke to me without my knowing why. This is beautiful and inspires me to reconnect to this strength of purpose in this pose. Thank you, again.

  2. Chanti says:

    HeatherR,
    You are welcome. I think some poses have that ability to speak to us, we are wise when we listen. Please let us know how your practice feels when you do this pose again and reconnect.
    Aloha,
    Chanti

  3. This pose reminds me to soften. To stop trying so hard. To loosen effort.When I step into it, I experience my strength and then I remind myself that I don't have to hold on so hard. Soften shoulders. Extend out in every direction. Become aware of sushumna, holding the center. Experience how a warrior can be vulnerable. Relaxing rigidity increases agility. And when all of these little admonitions to myself finally leave my head, nothing but space and silence. Mmmmm now I want to go practice. hehe! Great article. Thank you.

  4. I loved this, and I think I'm going to end up reading it to my students tomorrow. Beautiful! One note I wanted to point out though: Shiva's original wife was named "Sati," not "Sita." ;)

  5. Thamer Bhavani says:

    Aloha Chanti,
    Loving this post! When doing W2, I usually bring to mind my intention for my daily practice and see it manifesting as I ground my feet, open to receive and gaze at my hand pointing to the horizon. A sense of grounding, balancing and being open to whatever the day holds for me, while continuing to feel focused on the intention and on any messages my body sends to me. It is important to me to make those micro movements that allows me to settle comfortably deeper into the asana. Like a cat moves or paws onto a blanket long enough to get it “just right” and comfortable: “Sthira Sukham Asanam”.

  6. veloyogi says:

    Thanks, Chanti, for asking us. i am remembering when i first started practicing yoga, I was feeling put upon by my boss, I felt bullied (and allowed it). Yet when I left work, and went to yoga class, I was so happy when Mary, my teacher, would have us do this pose. In that moment, I felt completely prepared and competent to face those foe-like feelings that I let seep in at work. There, in the pose, I was full, strong, capable, fearless…Yes.
    Barbra Brady
    Contributing Art Editor, Yoga Modern, ParaYoga Certified Level I Teacher

    • Chanti says:

      Thanks veloyogi, sometimes we respond to the pose, and other times the pose responds to us, how tantric of it.
      Thanks for sharing
      aloha,
      chanti

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  8. [...] Reflections on Warrior II Experimenting with Virabhadrasana II [...]

  9. [...] I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for the past 15 years, with the last seven of them being rather intentional, and I’ve never seen such a powerful example of “humble warrior” pose aka Virabhadrasana. [...]

  10. [...] didn’t need to go far into the practice to face my grief, it was there on my first Vira II. During practice, as I kept opening my hips my emotions started to take over. As a yoga instructor, [...]

  11. [...] halfway through class, the teacher said something that not only made me giggle in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II), but was also the truth pill I needed to swallow. As the leg shaking and brow sweating was reaching [...]

  12. Chanti says:

    Wow I love that everyone is practicing, and sharing their thoughts! For me it doesn't get in the shoulders as much as in the elbows and forearm. I started doing this pose with my palms up and my elbows slightly bent. This actually made the pose feel much more firm and stable for me. When I practice this way, I remember that there is more to asana than just the outline of the body. I feel that the shape helps to inform my body to cultivate that moment of balance. I like to close my eyes and start to develop a sensitivity to the pose; I ask myself what feels open and expansive and what feels dull, then I adjust appropriately. When the pose starts to shape me, and I feel most present, I offer it to a great big fire.

    ALoha
    Chanti

  13. Chanti says:

    Paula I think you are right, it's about the present moment.

  14. garuda65 says:

    I love the way you articulated what you do in VII. I do something similar but I've never tried to say it out loud. LOL! Thanks!

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