Sunday, February 27, 2011

Be A Warrior: Part 3 - Warrior III

"Establishing his arrival for all to see, Virabhadra then sites his opponent, Daksha. Moving swiftly and precisely, he takes his sword and cuts off Daksha's head."

This passage illustrates the progression of the Hindu Warrior as he sets site on this opponent and moves in for the kill. It is the transition from Warrior II to Warrior III.

Virabhdrasana III is often considered the most challenging of the Warrior poses. It allows us to strengthen the abdominal muscles as well as improves our posture. It brings better balance and greater stamina, not only in our practice, but also in our lives.

Warrior III is slightly different from the first two Warrior poses since you are balancing on one foot rather than feeling solid with both feet on the ground. While standing on the right foot, the rest of the body is perpendicular to the floor with both arms extended out in front of you (visualize flying through the sky like Superman). Your left leg is extended out behind you, also parallel to the floor. The aspect of this pose represents Virabhadra as he drives forward to slay Daksha. It further represents the yoga practitioner slaying the ego or the obstacles and challenges that need to be conquered.

As you move into this posture on the first side, start by feeling very rooted into the ground with your standing leg. The energy from the balance comes from your core; your abdominals are fully engaged and tight. Energy for the rest of the pose comes from your core center. The right foot drives strongly into the floor, but the strength comes from the top of the leg - the hip and hip flexor. Your core strength also helps to extend both arms forward. (As a modification, do this pose in front of a wall. Your hands or fingertips can touch the wall as a way to help manage the balance of the pose.)

Further, the left leg is extended straight out back behind you. The glutes and hamstrings are fully engaged to help with the lifting of the leg so it remains parallel with the floor. (Likewise, as a modification, you can face away from a wall in the pose. The toes or foot of the extended leg can touch the wall to help maintain the balance.) Hold the pose for at least 5 breaths then repeat it on the other side.

Remember, while holding this posture, bring to mind the obstacles and challenges you have been facing in recent weeks. Now is the time to take action. You realize, now, that these challenges no longer serve you in your life and you are ready to break down these walls. Movement and action come from your center - your core - your third chakra. While in the pose, imagine you are in flight - flying forward to face and remove your fears. Believe in the strength you possess as you step forth, like the bold Hindu Warrior, and conquer your obstacles.

Be sure to share with us your journey toward becoming a Warrior.


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