Many yoga classes incorporate warrior pose (virabhadrasana), as it is a powerful pose that is accessible for all levels. But have you ever been told the story behind it?
Like a lot of other yoga poses, virabhadrasana is inspired by ancient Indian mythology. Virabhadra was a powerful hero who originated from one of the hairs of the god Shiva. You may wonder how this is possible.
Well, Shiva was married to princess Shakti, the daughter of king Daksha. The king celebrated a large sacrification party one day, but as he did not particularly like Shiva, he did not invite his son-in-law. Nevertheless, Shakti went to the party, but she was humiliated so badly that she threw herself into the fire. When Shiva heard this, he became so angry that he pulled his hair out of his head. From one of these hairs, the hero Virabhadra was born, and he transformed into a storm that blew over the party and chased everyone including king Daksha away.
This story may be interpreted in different ways. I personally believe that it symbolizes the principle of non-harming in yoga philosophy. Although the story may seem quite violent, I think it tells us how we can stand up against any harm that is done to others and the world around us.
How do you interpret the story? And how will you use the intention the next time you practice Warrior Pose?
(summary of the story from Yoga Dipika by B. K. S. Iyengar)