What: Virabhadra is the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet, wielding a thousand clubs, and wearing a tiger’s skin. This pose personifies strength and empowerment.
Learning proper alignment for this pose is vital, especially if you’ll be taking flow yoga where you’ll be moving in and out of the pose with your breath. You’ll want your body to remember the alignment automatically every time.
Why: This pose provides many benefits, including:
* Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
* Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, and shoulders
* Stimulates abdominal organs
* Increases stamina and energy
* Hones focus
* Personifies the combination of steadiness and ease or Sthira and sukham in a pose
*Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart.
*Turn your right foot parallel to the back of your mat and angle it in about 10 degrees and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right arch.
*Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor. Firm your thighs and press your left thigh outward so that the knee is in line with the second or third toe.
*Stretch the arms to the sides at shoulder height. Turn the palms up first and slide your shoulder blades down your back. Turn the palms to face the earth. Firm the arms and reach with energy through all ten fingers. Make sure both shoulders are at shoulder level.
* Keep shoulders over hips and avoid tendency to lean the torso over the left thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long. Draw your navel into the spine, hug your ribcage in and allow your tailbone to descend. Turn the head to the left and look out over the middle finger with a soft drishti gaze.
*Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.
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