The second pose in the series of postures named for Shiva's fierce warrior, this version of Warrior Pose increases stamina.
(Pronounced as "VEER-ah-budd-RAH-sanna")
As mentioned before, Virabhadra is the name of a warrior created by Shiva to lead his army in battle. This pose is especially good for building strength and stability in the hips.
Stand up straight in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. Take a deep breath and then exhale as you jump your feet far apart while spreading your arms out to the sides. Adjust your feet so that they are as far away from each other as possible. Check your heels to make sure they're in line with each other horizontally on the floor. Your toes should point straight ahead. Keep your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Your palms should face down toward the floor.
Keeping your torso centered above your pelvis, rotate your right foot out 90 degrees to the right side. Rotate the toes of your left foot 45 degrees toward the right also. Balance your weight evenly between both feet and keep your left leg straight for the duration of this pose. You will know if you have completely straightened your left knee because when you do, the center of your left kneecap will be in line with the middle of your left ankle. Rotate both thighs outward and away from your pelvis.
Now take a breath and then breathe out as you bend your right knee down to a right angle. Bend down far enough so that your leg becomes parallel to the floor and level. Your shin should be perpendicular to the floor with your right knee directly above your right ankle. Press your left heel back firmly into the floor to balance as you bend the right knee.
Turn your head to the right and gaze at your right fingers. Keep your arms parallel to the floor and extend them to the sides, imagining that people are pulling your hands on each side of you in a tug of war. Lengthen both sides of your torso.
Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Over time, you will be able to stay for up to a minute. Breathe in as you come out of the pose by straightening your right leg and then turning your feet back to face forward again. Now repeat the pose on the other side and hold it for the same amount of time.
In order to help you achieve better alignment and maintain your balance while learning this posture, stand with your back against a wall. Go ahead and jump your feet apart and come into the pose as normal by making sure that the outside edge of your front foot and your back heel press against the wall behind you. Leaning backward to press your back against the wall also helps straighten your spine.
Your torso should neither lean forward nor back in this posture. Rather, the torso needs to stay centered above your pelvis. You can adjust yourself by making sure that the armpit of your front arm is exactly above your front hip. Push firmly through your back heel and then rotate your back inner thigh out and away from your pelvis to create space in that back hip joint. When you've rotated both hip joints outward from your pelvis and away from each other, then your torso will naturally come into alignment above your pelvis.
To get an even deeper expansion of the chest, interlock your fingers together behind your back while straightening both of your arms. Then simultaneously rotate your shoulders back and away from each other, forcing your shoulder blades to tuck deeply into your back.
Try to slightly push your fingers down toward the floor while keeping your arms straight and pulling your shoulders back.
Ask a partner to help you build strength in your back leg and keep it straight as you work on holding this posture. Before you come into the pose, take a yoga belt and make a loop at the end. Place the loop around your left leg right above your back knee.
Have your partner stand behind you. Then as you bend your front knee and come into the pose, straighten your back leg. Have your partner gently start pulling on the belt while they stand behind you so that your back knee cannot bend. Your back leg will remain straight and help support your weight properly.
The best way to learn yoga is to take lessons from a professional teacher. Want to see the yoga classes near you?