Pose of the Week: Virabhadrasana 3

Sunday, 11 August 2019 17:09
This week’s pose is Virabhadrasana 3. Virabhadra is the name of a warrior and it the third variation of the warrior poses.
You can read up on the previous blogs on the other 2 variations:
Alicia in Virabhadrasana 3
It’s a challenging standing asana that requires a balance between extension and restraint. When you look the photos of the pose you can see that there is a small base over which to position the rest of the elongated body. It requires a firmness in the horizontal extension from fingertips to toes. The mobile joints (except for the standing ankle joint) need to be, as BKS Iyengar says, “poker stiff”. As Mel Robin points out: “The stabilisation of the secondary joints follows naturally from the yogic extension of the body normally performed in the pose when bringing it into alignment and extension.” (A Physiological Handbook for Teachers of Yogasana p.530).  Easier said than done…
The strength comes from our internal connection to the asana, through the drawing up of the pelvic floor to create Mula Bandha (or root lock) and also a firmness in the lower abdomen. These two areas relate closely to the chakras (see last weeks blog on Padmasana) associated with these locations. 
From Mel Robin, A Physiological Handbook for Teachers of Yogasana p.104
The term Chakra means wheel, it relates to a subtle energy system. This system comprises of 7 main chakras, situated along the spinal column. The nadisare the energetic pathways that the prana (energy or life-force) travels.
The Swadisthana Chakra is located in the lumbar area of the spine, around L1. It relates closely to the belly and specifically the pancreas, ovaries and intestines. Once this chakra becomes open the personality of that individual is friendly and creative, with strong emotional feelings. 
The Muladhara Chakra is located near the coccygeal plexus (tailbone). This is the base chakra and where the nadis emerge: the Ida, Pingala and the Sushumna. It is associated with the element of earth and sense of smell. Once this chakra becomes open the individual is healthy, passionate and confident.
The theories on chakras originate in ancient Vedic (Hindu) texts. Breath channels (nadi) of Yoga practices are mentioned in the classical Upanishads of Hinduism dated to 1st millennium BCE, but it wasn’t until approx 8th-century CE that Buddhist text specify the hierarchies of inner energy centres. 
Through optimum physiological and psychological health, the chakras can be opened, then prana can flow unimpeded through the ida and pingala channels. This brings about an awakening of kundalini, the divine energy believed to be located at the base of the spine, leading to spiritual liberation. 
As you can appreciate, we are dealing with structures and concepts well outside our regular field of understanding.
BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga in Virabhadrasana 3
BKS Iyengar identifies in The Tree of Yoga, that the divine energy of kundalini comes to you through the efforts of asana and pranayama so you are prepared and physically firm, mentally stable and spiritually ready to receive it. (p.120)
Led Practice next Saturday 17th 10am FREE to students who have a current pass (or $15 cash). Book your place: https://yogapath.punchpass.com/classes/4203461
See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path
Learn more about your yoga - become an Iyengar Yoga Teacher
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