Why this is a perfect Virabhadrasana II

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 Base:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.46.12 PM

The first thing that comes to mind in her posture is how wide her stance is. It seems infinite.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.41.34 PM

Notice the outer edge of her foot is pressing down. That is keeping her from slipping on this oriental carpet. No sticky mat needed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.41.45 PM

The knee is at a 90 degree angle and the femur bone appears parallel to the ground.

The Torso:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.50.25 PM

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 Arms:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 9.42.07 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 10.01.04 PM

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!

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 10.13.36 PM

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Why this is a perfect Virabhadrasana II

  1. k8macdo

    Thank you for expertly directing our attention to the component elements of this pose. The synergy of these elements creates something that is so much more than the sum of the parts – it is as if observing these alignment cues liberates something much greater. To refer to an recent image in So…’s blog – we often are cheetahs moving around like donkeys! Geeta embodies the noble warrior here : )

    Like

    Reply
  2. Ruth mcreynolds

    Thank you for breaking the Asana down like that, would be interested in anything you have to say
    It’s such a wonderful picture & a powerful Asana
    Ruth

    Like

    Reply
  3. Pingback: A teacher’s touch | anonymous sadhaka

  4. Pingback: Why this is a perfect Virabhadrasana II | Iyengar Yoga with John

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s