Updated: Nov 26, 2021
So often yogis are asumed to be peaceful and passive, but the truth is, yogis are just like anyone else, except they may be able to find their breath and calm themseles in stressful situations. This is not always the case, however.
Truth is, yogis are people.
We're just people.
We don't have to be slathered in patchouli oil, chanting Aum and wearing mala beads. We don't need to be thin or even own a mat to be a yogi. We certainly don't have to be constantly peaceful and tossing around positive vibes like confetti.
When one thinks of yoga, what most often comes to mind is asana, which is the practice of physical postures . What's interesting about the assumptions mentioned earlier is that yoga has three poses named after a fierce war-god, Virabhadra: Virabhardasana I, II, and III.
These are also known as Warrior I, II, and III.
The fact that there is not just one warrior pose, but three of them kind of challenges the notion that we're to be peaceful all the time, right?
Perhaps there is more to this yoga thing than we think.
Perhaps we can stand firm in who and what we are. Perhaps we can have opinions on world issues. Perhaps we can even get angry about things.
And of course we can, because we are human beings, and as long as we are in this physical body, there is much to learn.
In the next three posts, we'll explore these poses and note their proper alignment. At the end, I'll provide a demonstration of how you can put them together.
What can we learn from Virabhadrasana I? Let's have a look.
Grounding to earth helps us to stand firm in our convictions and in this physical vessel that enables us to live our lives.
Rising up through the torso from our firm foundation reminds us that we are not just of earth, but we are of the heavens (air and ether, if you prefer) as well.
Reaching through our arms with our fingers actively extended upwards reminds us to focus on God at all times.
Looking straight ahead helps us to realize that it is through our free will and determination, that the steps must be taken to fulfill our duties in this life. No one can do this for us.
Proper alignment for Virabhadrasna I:
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain pose). Raise both arms up over head, palms touch. Take a deep inhalation and jump (or step) legs apart to 4-4 1/2 feet. Exhale, turn to the right and turn the right foot 90 degrees (toes facing top of mat) and the left foot turned slightly to the right. Bend the right knee to a right angle. The knee should not extend past the ankle, but be in line with the heel. Stretch the left leg and tighten at the knee. The face, chest, and right knee shoudl face the same way as the right foot. Gaze up at the joined palms. Hold for about 20-30 seconds with normal breathing. Exhale and jump back to Tadasana. Repeat on other side.
Modifications for Virabhadrasana I:
Stand in Tadasana. Take a deep breath and step left foot back about . 4-4 1/2 feet. Exhale, turn to the right and turn the right foot 90 degrees, with toes facing top of mat. Turn the left foot slightly to the right. Extend arms overhead, interlock fingers and point index fingers up. Bend the right knee toward 90 degrees. The knee should not extend past the ankle, but be in line with the heel. Stretch the left leg and tighten the knee. The face, chest, and right knee should face the same way as the right foot. Gaze forward. Hold as long as you can with normal breathing. Exhale and step back to Tadasana.