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Posted by on Jan 11, 2017

21-Day Back to the Mat Challenge: Day Twelve. Vira II

21-Day Back to the Mat Challenge: Day Twelve. Vira II

Welcome to Day Twelve! Today we’re going to enjoy Vira II, Warrior Two.

In Hindu mythology, Virabhadra is Shiva’s most fierce protector. Like Athena who sprang from Zeus’ head fully armed and ready for battle, Virabhadra sprang from the head of an enraged Lord Shiva, who was so mad about an insult, he ripped some of his dreadlocks out of his head. One of them became Virabhadra.

Vira is the Sanskrit word for hero and Bhadra means friend. Virabhadra is a metaphor for righteous anger, especially when battling weaknesses such as injustice, ignorance, and the ego. It’s a power pose, to be sure.

For today’s practice, enjoy all of the postures we’ve shared so far, adding Vira II before settling into Savasana.

Here is a description of how to align Vira II. From Tadasana:

  • Inhale, step your right foot back (take a wide stance, as wide as you would for Anjaneyasana)
  • Bring your right foot parallel to the front of your mat
  • An imaginary line drawn from your front heel should intersect with the arch of your back foot
  • Imagine your front thigh rotating outward; your back thigh rotating inward and back – in other words, keep the top of your back leg reaching back to create a hollow space at the front of the groin area of your back leg
  • Exhale, deeply bend your front knee to 90 degrees (bringing your front thigh parallel to the floor), keeping this knee in line with the second toe of your front foot
  • Maintain a natural curve in your low back, keep your abs engaged and lifting
  • Keep your shoulders in line with your hips; keep your hips and chest facing the long side of your mat
  • Inhale, Bring your arms up to shoulder height, palms facing down, fingers engaged
  • Take your gaze forward over your front fingers
  • Breathe

Note: There is a tendency to bring the torso forward toward the forward-reaching hand, which is natural because it is such a powerful, forward-reaching posture, but keep your spine and your energy in line over your hips. Imagine the points of your hips and shoulders forming a rectangle.

After Vira II on both sides, step back to a Downward-Facing Dog, then lower yourself down to the mat in a comfortable seated position. Lay back into Savasana.

Here is today’s complete practice:

  • Take a comfortable seat
  • Close your eyes, Bring your attention inward
  • Inhale, lengthen the spine, Exhale, keep that length
  • Notice deeply
  • Continue in this way for 10 or 20 breaths
  • Open your eyes and move to a kneeling position (sit back on your heels)
  • Perform Kapalabhati for 20-50 breaths, Repeat (as you like)
  • Come to Child’s pose, enjoy the effects of Kapalabhati
  • Come up to Table, then move with breath:  Table > Down Dog > Table > Child’s Pose…
    Repeat Five times (or as many or few times as you like)
  • Balancing Table (both sides)
  • Lower arm/leg back to Table
  • Exhale as you Push back to Downward Facing Dog
  • Inhale, Step forward to Standing Forward Fold
  • Exhale here
  • Inhale up to Tadasana, Mountain Pose
  • Sun Salutation (both sides)
  • Tadasana
  • Close your eyes, bring your hands together in Prayer Pose, Anjali Mudra, at the center of your chest
  • Breathe
  • Uttanasana, Standing Forward Fold
  • Sun Breaths
  • Step back to Downward Facing Dog
  • Lunge (right foot back)
  • Runner’s Stretch over left leg
  • Lunge (left foot back)
  • Runner’s Stretch right leg
  • Step back to Downward-Facing Dog
  • Lower down to Child’s Pose
  • Step to Tadasana at the front of your mat
  • Vira II (both sides)
  • Step back to Downward-Facing Dog
  • Push back to a comfortable sitting position
  • Lie back into Savasana