In this age of selfies we are inundated with people doing “advanced” yoga postures. This is a picture of a younger Geeta Iyengar taken years before digital photography. She is doing Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II), a “basic” standing pose. But she is doing it with mastery few could match. I will show different segments of her posture that show why this one of the best Virabhadrasana II photographs I have seen….
The first thing that comes to mind in her posture is how wide her stance is. It seems infinite.
Notice the outer edge of her foot is pressing down. That is keeping her from slipping on this oriental carpet. No sticky mat needed.
The knee is at a 90 degree angle and the femur bone appears parallel to the ground.
Despite the asymmetry of the legs in Virabhadrasana II (one straight leg, one bent knee leg), her torso is even and side ribs are lifted and shoulders are down.
The level wall makes a nice point of reference for the arms. Notice how one arm is slightly above the other. That is not a mistake. The slight elevation of the arm gives the pose a sense of lightness. In your own practice, try level arms versus the bent leg arm slightly lifted and you’ll notice a huge difference in the prayatna shaithilya (effortless effort) aspect of the posture.
The internal practice:
Virabhadrasana II is a strenuous pose. If it is held for more than a minute, fatigue rapidly sets in. It is not known how long she has been in the posture, but the softness of her countenance shows that she could stay for a long time. Her posture not only shows effortless effort, it shows the iconography of the spirit of a warrior. Geeta is certainly a warrior as today she continues to teach at 70 years of age.
Thank you for sharing this photo with the world!