The Asana Clinic: Week 3

My Top 3 Benefits of Virabhadrasana II

1. Discipline (…is a dirty word…) Discipline has so many negative connotations – we think of discipline and we think of being shouted at, oppressed and controlled. However, self-discipline is quite a precious attribute and is so vital in conjuring inner strength. When we have self-discipline, we have a stronger resilience to negative external influences – we know our minds and we don’t want anyone or anything else to influence us in being who we are. Having discipline does not make you a bad person – it makes you a strong person, a person whom has chosen to live freely in their own mind and there is nothing stronger than that!

2. Boosts Metabolism Here’s my favourite bit: the science behind the pose! One of the hidden benefits of this pose is that it can aid efficacy in the metabolic rate. The primary area exercised in Warrior II is the quadriceps – the large group of muscles comprising the thighs. They are the largest muscles in the body. It is quite common knowledge that lean muscle mass burns more calories (even at rest) than fatty tissue. When we exercise our muscles require energy to keep them working – muscle tissue becomes tired quickly and needs a rich supply of oxygen and glucose in order to produce energy to keep working. Even after the muscles are no longer physically in use, they will continue to use oxygen and glucose (known as aerobic respiration) thus burn calories, as they repair themselves. This creates a higher metabolic rate. The larger the muscles are, the faster they tire and the more they need repairing after physical activity – more energy is needed for these large muscles. So, working the largest muscles in the body will contribute to the health and efficacy of the metabolism. In Warrior II, even though we aim to evenly distribute the weight between both legs, the front leg is I a lunge position and this places more stress on the muscles of that leg. Regular practice of this pose will help to tone the muscle and get them revved up to burn more calories, even when you are sitting in front of Netflix!

3. Melts stress away Something a little shy of magical happens when you finally break through the muscle fatigue and you can settle in to the pose and allow your breath to just carry you away in to a far-off place. Virabhadrasana II encourages deeper breathing which is essential for combating muscle fatigue, by creating energy (as mentioned previously) in the body, but it also gives the mind something to focus on. A lot of the mental stress that we experience is born out of too many things going on in our heads – creating “chatter” and noise that we just can’t seem to silence. However, as soon as we give the mind something to concentrate on, that noise stops and the silence blankets our minds.

Even though this is quite a strong pose, that requires you to be physically active, once you break through to the other side and can just “be” in the pose, you can wrap yourself up in that big breath-filled blanket and give your mind the silence and rest that it deserves.

This is a truly wonderful, multi-faceted pose, that has a myriad of benefits and I hope you enjoy trying it out as much as I enjoy teaching it.