is a rock climber and passionate yoga enthusiast. Her classes are intended to help athletes of all types avoid injuries caused by strong tight muscles and to increase performance through improved range of motion.
NOTE: You should consult a medical practitioner before starting any new exercise regime. This is particularly important if you are overweight, pregnant, nursing, regularly taking medications, or have any existing medical conditions. Content shown on this website may not be tailored to your current physical and mental health. Please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the poses listed here.
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In Sanskrit "vira" means hero and "bhadra" means great. So Virabhadra was the greatest, most fearsome warrior ever known. Here's his (very) abbreviated story:
Lord Shiva (also know as the Destroyer and considered the most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon) was married to a beautiful woman Sati. Unfortunately, Sati's father, Daksha, didn't like that she was married to Shiva and set about doing his best to exclude Shiva from family events. This upset Sati and after frequent snubs and insults Sati couldn't take it anymore and threw herself into a ceremonial fire.
Shiva was grief stricken. He didn't realize just how much her father's insults were hurting Sati. He was terribly angry. He loved Sati dearly. So with deep sorrow and anger, Shiva tore out his hair and threw it to the ground. There upon that spot the earth split open and Virabhadra (and Kali) were born. Virabhadra was tall and muscular, his body was dark as storm clouds. He had three burning eyes, and fiery hair. Around his neck were a garland of skulls and he carried terrible weapons. Virabhadra was the manifestation of Shiva's grief and anger.
Virabhadra bowed his knee and raised up his arms in service to Shiva. (Warrior I) Shiva looked at Virabhadra and said, "Lead my army against Sati's father. Destroy him and all those that side with him."
So off Virabhadra went with his huge swords and weapons. When he arrived at Daksha's palace (Sati's father). He began to wield his swords, slicing off the head's of Shiva's enemies. (Warrior II). The battle raged on and Virabhadra continued to fight. Eventually he found Sati's father and in one final act of rage and vengence, he cuts the head off of Daksha. (Warrior III).
What a story! However, when you dig deeper. Virabhadra is simply a bloody warrior. Like Shiva, Virabhadra destroys to save. His real enemy is the ego. His cutting the head off Daksha is symbolic of cutting off the head of the ego. Virabhadra is there to remind us to be humble.
So, the next time your thighs are screaming and your arms are shaking in Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose), reflect on the story of Virabhadra, for whom this pose is named. Tap into the strength of this great warrior. Put that fierce energy into the pose and remember to set aside your ego as you practice and throughout your daily life.
To read more about the mythology of Virabhadra, Shiva, Sati, and Daksha, check out these resources:
You should consult a medical practitioner before starting any new exercise regime. This is particularly important if you are overweight, pregnant, nursing, regularly taking medications, or have any existing medical conditions. Content shown on this website may not be tailored to your current physical and mental health. Please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the poses listed here.read more