Virabhadrasana

Daksa once celebrated a great sacrifice,  but he did not invite his daughter Sati nor her husband Siva, the chief of the gods.  Sati, however, went to the sacrifice, but being greatly humiliated and insulted threwherself into thefire and perished.  When Siva heard this he was gravely provoked, tore a hair from his matted locks and threw it to the ground.  A powerful hero named Virabhadra rose up and awaited his orders.  He was told to lead Siva’s army againt Daksa abd destroy his sacrifice.  Virabhadra and his army appared in the midst of Daksa’s assembly like a hurricane and destroyed the sacrifice, routed the other gods and priests and beheaded Daksa.  Siva in grief for Sati withdrew to Kailas and plunged into meditation.  Sati was born again as Uma in the house of Himalaya.  She strove once more for the love of Siva and ultimately won his heart.  The story is told by Kalidasa in his great poem Kumara Sambhava (the birth of the war-lord)

This asana is dedicated to the powerful hero created by Siva from his matted hair.

Techniques of Virabhadrasana :

1. Stand in Tadasana (Plate 1)

2. Raise both arms above the head; stretch up and join the palms (Plate 12)

3. Tkae a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart side ways 4 to 4.5 feet

4. Exhale, turn to the right.  Simultaneously turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right and the left foot slightly to the right.  (Plate 13)  Flex the right knee till the right thigh is paralel to the floor and  the right shin perpendicular to the floor, forming a right angle between the right thigh and the right calf.  The bent knee should not extend beyon the ankle, but should be in line with the heel.

5. Stretch out the left leg and tighten at the knee.

6. The face, chest and right knee should face the same way as the right foot, as illustrated .  Throw the head up, stretch the spine from the coccyx and gaze at the jointed palms. (Plate 14)

7. Hold the pose from 20 seconds to half a minute with normal breathing.

8. Repeat on the left side as in positions 4 to  , reversing all processes.

9. Exhale and jump back to Tadasana(Plate 1)

*** All standing poses are strenuous, this pose in particular.  It should not be tried by persons with a weak heart. Even people who are fairly strong should not stay long in this asana.

Effects of Virabhadrasana :

In this pose the chest is fully expanded and this helps deep breathing.  It relieves stiffness in shoulders and back, tones up the ankles and knees and cures stifness of the neck.  It also reduces fat round the hips.

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