Sunday, 18 October 2015

Yoga myths and legends - the Warrior Poses

The warrior poses are not to encourage us to be violent, but to fight those tendencies within us that prevent us from being our true self, which is kind, loving and good.

The story of the warrior poses started when Lord Shiva and Sati married. King Daksha, Sati's father did not approve so when he held a ritual sacrifice, he invited all the deities and dignitaries except Lord Shiva and Sita.  

Sita was furious and went along anyway to confront her father, but he only laughed at her. Sita was so upset she declared that she would break all ties with her father, including the body he had given her. Saying this, she sat down and meditated on her internal fire until she burst into flames. When Shiva found out, he was so angry he ripped out his dreadlocks and cast one to the ground where it turned into a warrior, Virabhadra. Directed by Shiva, the warrior went to the ritual sacrifice, sword in both hands above his head (Warrior 1), he poised ready to strike (Warrior 2) and struck a blow (Warrior 3), severing Daksha's head. Afterwards Shiva was full of regret and gave Daksha the head of a goat before returning him to life.

Warrior 1- stand towards the back of the mat with your hand on your hips and your feet at hip distance.  Turn the toes of your left foot out as if to the 10 to position on a clock and step forward with your right foot.  Inhale take the arms up, exhale bend the front knee. Gaze is straight ahead, facing your enemy head on!! To come out of the pose, exhale take your hands to your hips, inhale step your feet together. Repeat second side.

Points to watch:-
  • Level your hips to the short edge of the mat - when the right foot steps forward, the right hip will tend to follow.  
  • There is a tendency for the shoulders to come up by your ears so draw your shoulder blades down your back to correct this.
  • Bend your front knee to the little toe side of your foot to avoid knee strain.   
Warrior 2 - stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet wide. Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women). Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand. To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward. Repeat second side.

Points to watch:-
  • Bend your front knee to the little toe side of your foot to avoid knee strain. If your knee is further forward than your ankle, you need to widen your stance, if the ankle is forward of the knee, you need to shorten your stance. The knee should track over the ankle.
  • To protect your SI joint, do not force your left hip back when you have the right knee bent or the right hip back when you have the left knee bent.  
  • Keep shoulder blades moving down the back.

Warrior 3 - see 'Warrior 3 for the wobbly'-

Please see also 'Yoga legends-Lord of the Fishes Pose'-

Love your yoga!

Janet x 

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