THE MYTH BEHIND VIRABHADRA
Kiana Ng Yoga
The 3 warrior poses are created from a myth about a fierce warrior named Virabhadra who was created by Shiva to avenge his beloved wife’s death, Shakti (or Sati). Each pose represents different parts of the story with each pose acting as a metaphor for us to embody greater strength when faced with challenges. The spiritual energy of the warriors help us to increase our focus, determination, and courage.
Read the full myth below…
The story begins with Shiva and Shakti who fall in love and get married. Daksha, Shakti’s father, doesn’t approve of this marriage and so holds a festival without inviting Shakti or Shiva. Shakti finds out about this festival and, in her hurt, decides to go anyways to confront her father. Upon arrival, Daksha asks why Shakti has shown up and if she has come to her senses about finally leaving her husband. Shakti, embarrassed and humiliated, decides to end her own life. She goes into a deep meditative state to increase her inner fire; so much that her body engulfs in flames.
Upon hearing of Shakti’s death, Shiva becomes enraged and within his rage, he rips out one of his dreadlocks and throws it to the ground in which a warrior, named Virabhadra, rises. Shiva orders him to slay everyone at the festival, including Daksha. Virabhadra does as Shiva wishes and slays every one, placing Daksha’s head on a stake. However, Shiva feels remorse after the fact and, with his remorse, Daksha’s head is replaced and healed, along with everyone else at the festival. Daksha and the others then referred to Shiva as the kind and benevolent one. Shiva then left with his lifeless wife and became a recluse in the mountains for a while.
The 3 warrior poses are each represented as follows:
- Warrior I – Virabhadra as he emerges from the ground (arms up and gazing upwards)
- Warrior II – Virabhadra as he slays everyone at the festival
- Warrior III – Virabhadra as he places Daksha’s head on a stake
In a metaphorical sense, warrior I can be seen as rising out of our own limitations with warrior II cutting through them and warrior III moving past them.