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Virabhadrasana #2

A primary warrior pose

This is a good representative pose - youtube

This asana is often performed after uthitta trikonasana as its easier to do than virabhadrasana 1. In this asana the integrity of tadasana is transferred with the feet placed slightly more than 1 m apart.

In the beginning it takes some experimentation to get the correct foot placings and begin to work into the pose. From standing with the feet wide and parallel, the right toes turn out a full 90° and the left heel turns back some 10°.

As with trikonasana, the line through the centre of the forward foot follows back to the centre arch of the back foot.

When you consider this alignment, if you can imagine this line flowing up through your body, the knees, the centres of the ball sockets in the joints of your hips and the median centre of the shoulders conform to this line.

In this example, the forward knee is over extended, it should not pass te line up from the ankle. If one is not supple or strong enough, best to keep the knee slightly back as in the top image. 

When the integrity of the initial adjustment of the feet has been re-established, in the beginning is good just to practice bending the forward knee until it comes directly above the heel of the forward foot. If the knee goes beyond line of the heel as detected in the image, it throws the whole posture out of balance and over time weakens that forward knee.

In keeping the toes soft, the arches lifted and your weight distributed comfortably between the balls and heels of your feet, feel that your feet are planted firmly and as you practice bending forward knee, keep the weight distributed evenly across the soles of the feet, especially the back foot without letting the arch collapse.

In this asana the idea is to open across the front of hips and in practice ones tail tucks under and the spine elongates up from the hips. Initially don't be too concerned about turning the head, but keeping the shoulders relaxed, practice extending the arms keeping them parallel to each other.

When all the aspects of the pose this far have been accomplished, then it's simply a matter of turning one's face to gaze passively beyond the fingers and breathing deeply for 30 or 40 seconds before relaxing and repeating everything to the other side.

Another mistake is to lift the shoulders and it's often a challenge to have the arms parallel

This pose tones the legs and provides great stability for the uplift and expansion of the torso, but it's also a very good pose for helping to resolve spinal problems and correcting overall posture.

As one achieves a degree of comfort and stability in this exercise, there is a continual progression towards aligning the central plane of the body with the line coming up from the feet above. It is sometimes helpful to visualise a central line from the crown of the head coming down through the premium. With this awareness one can elongate the spine further and become more aware of the functioning within the body.

In the video below you will find another explanation and it can be helpful to play this video as you practice. Compare the instructions and observe the combination of strength, openness and comfort by the young men demonstrating.

  • In practice, when adjusting the back foot, it's most often easier to turn the backheel away then to turn the toes inwards.
  • You notice how the models tone their leg muscles, it's good to maintain this muscular activity for the duration of the exercise is in practice it is the power applied through the back leg that helped to provide the drive required to experience a level of openness and success.
  • When turning your head, it's a common mistake to tilt the head back. A simple track to help prevent that is to drop the chin down slightly and then turn the chin toward the shoulder.
  • Another common mistake which is not illustrated here is that many people lean their torso forwards over the bent knee which brings all the weight into the front leg and destroys the integrity of the pose. To counter this, one can almost lean back slightly as though one was about to throw a spear or javelin and many find this makes the pose a little more dynamic.

This post can be incorporated into an everyday practice for greater strength of body, clarity and peace of mind.

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