VIRABHADRASANA ll (Fierce Warrior)
(named after the great warrior, Virabhadra, born from the matted locks of Shiva’s hair)
This is a strong pose that makes you feel calm and grounded.
The pose works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and abdominals, while strengthening your upper body and opening the hips.
Note: Divide standing pose in half – Ensure proper action of feet, legs and hips, then focus on the top half to combine.
Breath: Don’t forget the importance of the breath, deepen the pose on exhalation.
Start in Tadasana (Mountain):
INHALE: Step right foot back into Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose).
- Legs as wide apart as possible.
- To ease the pose if too deep, move feet closer together.
- To deepen the pose, widen the stance with right leg parallel to the floor, to lunge deeper, ensuring knee remains above the ankle.
Turn left foot at right angle, with outer edge of foot firmly pressed to the ground. Right foot pointing forward.
- Square hips so torso is facing to the side. Tuck tailbone, contract the abdominals so the navel comes back towards the spine, and the lumbar region is neutral, keeping the pelvis stable.
EXHALE: Flex the front knee and hip, extending the back hip
- Use the iliopsoas to lower the pelvis. Rotate the back foot internally.
- Engage quadriceps in the back leg and lift up kneecaps. Use the femur to leverage the body deeper into the pose.
- Use the muscles of the back leg and hip to push and hold in the pose, not the front leg, which should be just to stabilise the pose. Externally rotate thighs. Don’t allow the front knee to go past the ankle, and the torso is aligned over the hipbones, spine straight.
Extend the torso up, lifting up from the sternum, and abduct the arms
- contracting the supraspinatus muscle in the rotator cuff to initiate this action, and the deltoids to hold the pose. Adduct the scapula using the rhomboids. This helps to open the chest. Keep shoulders away from the ears.
- Internally rotate forearms, and rotate head and neck to gaze over front thumb.
INHALE: relax back leg, straighten front knee and return to Utthita Hasta Padasana.
- Repeat on the other side.
To exit pose
- Bring hands down to sides. EXHALE step forward into Tadasana.
High blood pressure
Medical conditions that affect the balance – MS, stroke, Parkinsons
Neck problems – don’t turn the head to look at the thumb
Increases prana in pelvic area and the swadhistana chakra
Strengthens shoulders and knees
Opens your chest and lungs
Energises tired limbs
Develops balance and stability, as well as stamina and concentration
Improves circulation, in particular to the pelvic floor and
Stimulates abdominal organs
Therapeutic for flat fleet, sciatica, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel and infertility
Emma, YTT 200hr, January 2016