In Hindu mythology, the great warrior Virabhadra, has a thousand heads, a thousand legs, a thousand eyes, and a thousand arms, each wielding a weapon. Needless to say, he is quite the adversary. On the one side, he represents the ego that rises against us again and again to cause us to suffer—to get angry, disappointed, and sad. On the other, he represents external challenges that come to face us in our lives. In truth, the two operate in unison, with external events triggering certain responses in our ego mind. The warrior poses tune our bodies to a position of strength, alertness, stability, stamina, and confidence with which to face our challenges. At the body level, Warrior II strengthens the legs and stretches the ankles. It opens up the groin, chest, and shoulders and encourages a strong alignment of the core and back muscles. It takes a lot of energy to maintain the warrior poses, so go easy on yourself, especially at first. Strength and stamina are built gradually, over time.
Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart with heels in alignment. Turn your right foot to 90 degrees and your left foot to about 45 degrees. You might want to widen your stance a little for more stability. Raise both arms, and gaze softly over the top of your right hand. Relax the shoulders. Sink your torso down (not forward), bending the right leg as deep as you can comfortably go, ensuring that your right knee does not fall inwards or outwards. Ideally, you should be able to just see your right toe when you look down, with your right shin perpendicular to the floor. Ground your back foot, particularly the big toe and the outer heel into the floor, making the back leg strong and stable. Stay here for 4 or 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
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