November 12, 2011

Experimenting with Virabhadrasana II.

Rod Stryker’s Four Desires (4D) Virtual Book Club

Reflections on Warrior II Pose

At the end of part one in his book The Four Desires, Rod Stryker reflects on the yoga posture Virabhadrasana II. Rod describes warrior II as “grounding and expansive… [it] strengthens as much as awakens a sense of grace and openness. Warrior II invites you to embody the boundless expanse of spirit and thereby prepares you to gracefully face whatever challenges stand in the way of prospering completely.” It is an asana we practice regularly. But how often do we tap into the essence of the warrior?

Virabhadra was born from one of Shiva’s matted locks of hair. Shiva’s wife Sati had sacrificed herself because neither she nor Shiva were invited to her father’s “great offering.” When Shiva found out what had happened he pulled a lock from his hair, threw it on the ground and Virabhadra was born to lead the army that avenged Sati’s death. A warrior was created to fight made from the grief and sadness of losing a lover.

Virabhadrasana II calls our attention towards balance. Looking at the shape of this pose we can imagine an archer taking his stance and looking one-pointed at his target. In order for an archer to have complete control, the archer must be stable, rooted and firm. She or he must posses the ability to pull back the bow with strength and let it go with ease to meet the target.

Let’s take a break from our desires, move into our yogi labs, and experiment with our asana practice. When we get to our mats and find our way into virabhadrasana II, let’s cultivate an image of a warrior.

Have the East side of the body (the front) invoke the strength, drive and courage of leading an army into battle. Allow the West side (back body) to reflect on the past–Shiva’s loss, our own experiences, and those events that shaped us the most.

As we raise our arms reaching one towards the east and the other towards the west, we can cultivate the present moment and feel our ability to face any challenge. Finally (if you’re still in the pose) make that whole experience an offering.


For this week, let’s experiment with virabhadrasana II to discover “the essential qualities that inspire us to grow, thrive and evolve.”

What did you experience in the pose? 
Did you try something new, or practice a little differently?
Can you connect your feelings of thriving to any of the four desires?


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