Virabhadrasana is the pose of Virabhadra, the “auspicious hero", born from a bead of sweat on the forehead of the Hindu god Shiva.

Underlying each yoga asana is a story. Some of these stories are ancient myths that reflect our deepest desires, the obstacles we face, and the factors that drive us.

Each time you perform Virabhadrasana, imagine yourself capable of anything that needs to be accomplished. Just like its name suggests, when practised correctly and with determination, this pose makes one strong and focused. This asana focuses on many body parts—opening the hips and strengthening and stretching the thighs, calves and ankles, the shoulders, arms and back muscles. It also stretches the abdomen, chest and lungs.

How to do it

Virabhadrasana: Take care of multiple problems with this one asana. Abhijit Bhatlekar/Mint

Raise your arms up over your head (and keep them parallel to each other). Then place the palms of the hands together in a namaskar pose. Your fingers are active and moving towards the ceiling as your shoulder blades are moving down your back away from your ears. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt it back and look up at your thumbs.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute, concentrating on your breath. Try to focus on keeping your legs strong and grounded. To come up, inhale, press the back heel firmly into the floor and reach up through the arms, straightening the right knee. Turn the left foot forward and release the arms with an exhalation, or keep them extended upward for more challenge. Take a few breaths, then repeat with the right foot going back this time. When you’re finished return to Tadasana.A word of caution: People with neck problems should keep their head in a neutral position and not look up at the hands.

People with shoulder problems should keep their hands parallel and not bring the hands together.

Maya Rao is a Mumbai-based authorized Ashtanga yoga teacher who conducts private classes.

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