One of my favorite aspects of yoga is learning the myth behind a pose — I always feel more connected once I uncover the story. Here, I’m going to explore the the Warrior Series.
The story behind this myth starts off with Lord Shiva, who is one of the three major Hindu deities. He is known as the destroyer, or agent of death, and reminds us that everything has to come to an end.
The myth begins with Shiva marrying Sati. While Sati was a high socialite, Shiva was the opposite.
He was known for his long dark dreadlocks. He rarely bathed, and would disappear for weeks to meditate. Sati’s father, Daksha, wasn't happy that his daughter married Shiva because he believed him to be unworthy of her.
One evening, Sati’s father decided to host a luxurious party, without inviting Shiva. Upset by the news, Sati went to the party angry.
At the party she tried to talk to her father. Her father laughed at her sadness, which caused Sati to burst into flames and die. One version of the myth said she threw herself into a fire pit. Another version said she was so upset, she sat down and cried, bursting into flames. Whatever the story, her ending was a spectacular display of flames and fury.
When the news reached to Shiva, he was mournful and enraged. He decided to get revenge by building a soldier.
He threw a single dreadlock on the ground, and from the ashes of the dreadlock, the soldier Virabhadra was born.
Shiva ordered Virabhadra to bring back the head of Daksha. Following his orders, Virabhadra descended upon the party.
The warrior scene that is associated with the Yoga poses takes place here: Virabhadra, so it is said, rose from the Earth into the party hall, with a sword held over his head.
This is the posture of Warrior 1, with arms held over the head.
Virabhadra sliced off the head off Daksha.
This is shown in Warrior 2, with both arms parallel to the floor.
Once Virabhadra completed the task, he rose from the Earth to Shiva. Offering on a plate, the head of Daksha.
This shows off Warrior 3. The back foot is off of the floor and the arms are forward extending the plate to Shiva.
In class, you often hear the words Virbhadrasana 1,2,3, or A,B,C. Virabhadra was the warrior in this story, so we honor him. This name can be translated to and broken down into two parts:
- Vira meaning Hero
- Bhadra meaning friend or favourable
- Asana meaning seat or pose
I hope this blew your mind as much as it did mine! Enjoy your warrior sequences —while bringing strength and knowledge to your next practice!