Long, long ago, in a spiritual galaxy far, far away lived a young gal named Sati who’d found her true love in the arms of the rather unorthodox Lord Shiva. With his wildly dreadlocked hair, penchant for hanging out in cemeteries, and a taste for snakes as accessory, the outrageous Lord Shiva had no chance of winning the approval of Sati’s father, Daksa. The ultra-conservative Daksa ruled his house and land with an iron fist; rules, regulations, and plenty of structure. Lord Shiva on the other hand, loved to dance, tended to burst into loud, spontaneous song on a whim, had a habit of dousing himself with ashes and was prone to a libation or two. What a wildman.
Not long after Sati left her father’s house to marry Lord Shiva, Daksa threw an enormous religious ceremony (read: party) inviting everyone in the galaxy except Shiva and Sati. This was to be the spiritual event of the millennium and his faithful daughter and her beloved were intentionally not on the list! What a blow! Shiva was nonplussed and shrugged it off – perhaps there was a sky burial that night to attend – the offended Sati, however, decided to go anyway.
At the festivities, Daksa taunted his daughter and dissed Lord Shiva in front of all the guests who found the exchange quite amusing. Shamed and embarrassed, Sati walked away dejected and determined to cut all ties with daddy-o. She sat to meditate (what else would she do?) and her tapas – internal heat – built so quickly she burst into flames!
News in the celestial world travels fast, and when Lord Shiva heard of his wife’s death he become enraged. Tearing one of his matted dreads completely out of his head, he slammed it to the ground and up from the surface rose the ferocious warrior Virabhadra! In seconds, Virabhadra crashed the party and raised holy hell. With a sword in each hand and mighty magical powers, he destroyed the pious party and with one fell swoop cut off Daksa’s head.
Vira = hero or warrior
bhadra = best or auspicious
asana = pose
In last months’ issue, we established a place of peace in our homes in order to begin a meditation practice. It’s helpful to move a bit before sitting – especially if you commit to sit in the early morning hours. Virabhadrasana II is one of my favorite morning poses. In addition to building strength, stamina, and power in the legs, it cultivates steadiness, focus and courage as well. It opens the groin and hip joints, and gets your blood flowing. It’s a great pose for figuring out how/where you are in space, and generates in the mind a calm intensity. Most importantly for any warrior, it opens the chest and the heart.