Lotus Leaf posture guides
Sanskrit name: Virabhadrasana II (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)
In the Indian tradition in which yoga grew, Virabhadra was the name of a fierce warrior described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet and wielding a thousand clubs!
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Warrior - step by step
Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet about a metre apart. On an inbreath, raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides. Reach from the heart trough the shoulders, elbows, wrists and fingertips. Broaden across the shoulders. The palms are face down.
Turn your left foot in to the right a little and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel, as you check your base of support. Firm your thighs and press your right thigh outward so that the centre of the left knee cap is tracking in line with the centre of the left ankle and the centre toes of the left foot.
On an exhale, bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Find your vertical shin. Your stance may be wide enough to lower the right thigh parallel to the floor. If this is uncomfortable for you, a shorter stance and a slanting thigh are fine and a little less challenging. Firm up the left leg and pressing the outer left heel firmly to the floor, to help anchor and stabilize your base of support.
Reach the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don't lean over the right thigh - keep the sides of the trunk equally long. Keep the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubic bone. Turn the head to the right and cast the gaze out over the fingertips.
Use your breath to settle yourself into the pose. Follow your reflective learning cycle - act, sense, reflect, respond. Make little adjustments to your position with a view to finding stability and ease here. Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Or 3-5 long slow deep breaths. On an in breath, come up. Take the feet parallel. Swivel around to the other side on the soles of the feet. And repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
There are echoes of archery in this pose. As the reach and gaze align, it focuses the attention beautifully.
As you move the body into a new shape, you create a cascade of physiological events that create subtle shifts in how you feel.
You evoke sensations that allow you to engage your senses in a reflective learning cycle of attention and response. So that you can work towards a sense of steadiness and ease.
You work and stretch the muscles of the legs and ankles. You open the groin, chest and shoulder regions. And you stimulate the organs of the belly. Developing your physical strength and freedom of movement.
High blood pressure
Rest the hands on the hips instead of raising the arms.
Instead of turning your head to look over the front hand, continue to look straight ahead with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly.
Listen to the body and respect what it's telling you. Be ready to ease up or come out of a pose at any time if you need to. If you have any medical concerns, please do check with your GP before practicing yoga.
In Warrior II, your shoulders are centred over your pelvis with the sides of the trunk equally long. If you like you can follow on with Reclining Warrior, by leaning back slightly away from the front leg, tilting the arms parallel to the line of the top shoulders. It creates a nice stretch for the left side of the trunk. Repeat on the other side.
How was your Warrior II?
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