Finding Your Warrior Within

warrior quoteThree poses that to me, form the backbone of my yoga practice are the Warrior poses: Warrior I, II, and III. You might wonder, with yoga being such a introspective, calming, and gentle way of life, from where does this Warrior theme arise?  When I am in any of the Warrior poses I have a sense of inner strength and calm that filters through my whole body, my mind, and my spirit.  I envision myself as strong warrior, ready to fight for and protect my sense of self, and who I am.

In Sanskrit the name is Virabhadrasana means “hero friend”.  Vira is hero, bhadra means friend.  Virabhadra is a fearsome warrior formed from the hair of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction. Shiva pulls hair from his head in anger and despair when he learns of the death of his wife, Sati, caused by Sati’s father.  Shiva weaves his hair into a warrior, who he names Virabhdra. Shiva sends Virabhdra to slay Dhaksha, Sati’s father, and others who were accessories to Sati’s death.

In the end Shiva realizes his wrong doing and Virabhdra restores life to Dhaksha and others he had slain.  Virabhdra becomes a great warrior, serving and protecting Shiva.

Warrior I, II, and III poses  are representations of the image of Virabhadra as he wages his war against Dhaksa!

warrior i

Warrior I is the image of Virabhadra thrusting his way up through the earth to conquer Dhaksa, his sword held high above his head with both hands.

To come into Virabhadrasana I, start in Tadasana, Mountain Pose (standing tall, arms by your side, shoulders down away from your ears, fingers spread wide, knees and thighs flexed, sacrum tucked), step your right foot back, placing it on a 45 degree angle.  Bend your right knee to a 90 degree angle, making sure your knee is stacked over your ankle.  Adjust your hips, pressing your right hip back and your left hip forward.  On an inhale, lift your arms up over your head, maintaining a tall spine with a slight back bend, fingers spread wide.  On your exhale, lower your shoulders away from your ears.  Hold for 6 – 8 breaths.  Repeat on the opposite side.

warrior iib

Warrior II replicates Virabhadra when he has Dhaksha in his site.

To come into Virabhadrasana II, start in Tadasana, step your right foot back, placing it on a 45 degree angle.  Bend your left knee to 90 degrees, again stacking it over your ankle.  Turn your body to face sideways, with a tall spine, raise both arms out to shoulder height, and turn your head to look forward, your drishti (your gaze) follows over your right finger tips.  Hold for 6 to 8 breaths.  Repeat on the opposite side.

warrior iiiWarrior III embodies Virabhadra as he slays Dhaksha, cutting off his head.

Virabhadrasana III is a balancing pose.  Come to Tadasana and focus your drishti in front of you several feet away.  Reach your arms out in front of you at shoulder height, then begin to lift the left leg at the same time slowly tipping forward at your hip creases.  As your torso lowers and you lift your left leg , allow your ‘drishti’ to slowly drop, as well. When you are in the pose your gaze is down to the ground. To assist you with balance, press through the heel of the lifted foot.  Breath.  Work to keep your hips parallel to the ground. Don’t worry about how high your lifted leg is, you will be able to lift higher as your balance improves.  Hold for 6 to 8 breaths. Repeat on other side.

When we take any of the Virabhadrasana poses, we strive to embody the inner qualities of Virabhadra: those of empowerment, courage, and clarity. Try these Warrior poses and find your Warrior within!


Published by MSH Yoga

I am a wife, a mother of 3 wonderful, amazing adults, a grandmother, an Early Childhood Educator, and a certified yoga instructor (YTT 200 hrs). I teach Vinyassa style Hatha deep stretch, detox, and power flow classes at Birth Yoga Studio in Streetsville Ontario, and with Results Fitness Lifestyle In Mississauga. I completed my YTT 200 in December 2018. I am also a certified Y12SR, Yoga for 12 Step Recovery, group leader (August 2018), and a certified instructor of yoga for seniors, Relax into Yoga (March 2019), and Teaching Yoga to Seniors (October 2019). I facilitate Thai Yoga Stretch, and teach yoga to private clientelle. Practicing yoga is a passion, and supporting others to learn about this life changing practice is my goal. I practice meditation and mindfulness. I believe there is so much we can learn from being in tune with our body, our mind and our spirit, but that is a difficult path to find, and then, to actually follow. When we do, we facilitate the union of those 3 entities. Then we can begin to discover who we really are, and come to accept our precious self.

One thought on “Finding Your Warrior Within

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: