I love a good warrior flow they help us so much, there's focus, strength and grounding in all of them. Have you ever wondered about the story behind these poses? They are from a love story about prejudice, revenge and forgiveness.
The love story is between Lord Shiva who was married to Sati. Unfortunately, her father, Daksha did not approve because he likes rules while Lord Shiva was unorthodox. He was a bit of a wild boy really.
One day Daksha decided to have a party but not invite his daughter and her husband. Sati found out and was really upset - she felt left out and wanted to go but Lord Shiva didn't want to annoy her father any more by turning up uninvited. This didn't stop Sati who went to the party alone.
However, the experience was dreadful as her father said awful things in front of everyone about her husband, referring to him as a wild animal and asking if she had come to her senses and left him. She was publicly humiliated and so upset she said to her father “Since you have given me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it” she fell into a trance until her body burst into flames.
Lord Shiva was devistated by the death of his beloved wife. He blamed her father and his party guests so created a warrior called Virabhadra - being Vira (hero)+ Bhadra (friend) - to wreak revenge on them.
The three main warrior poses are the enactment of that revenge. Virabhradra arrived at the party with sword in both hands, thrusting his way up through the earth from underground, this is the first warrior pose. He then positioned himself to look around by standing in the second warrior pose and from there moved into the third warrior pose holding out his sword as he cut off Daksha’s head.
When Lord Shiva heard of his father-in-law's death his anger turned to sorrow and he felt compassion for him. He regretted his act of vengence and absorbed Virabhadra back into his own form. He then replaced Daksha’s Head with one of a goat and brought him back to life. Daksha realised what his pride and prejudice had caused and bowed his head to Lord Shiva. Others followed his lead, honouring Lord Shiva who left to become a recluse.
So these three poses we regularly practice come from a violent and sad story which helps us understand the importance of forgiveness and love.
Author: Sally Pearce (sallyjaneyoga)