Viparita Virabhadrasana

Definition - What does Viparita Virabhadrasana mean?
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Viparita Virabhadrasana is a standing back-bending asana that also provides a deep side stretch. The pose is considered a variation of Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2). The name is derived from the Sanskrit, viparita, meaning “reverse” or “inverted,” vira, meaning “hero,” bhadra, meaning “friend,” and asana, meaning “pose."

The legs are placed in a lunge position with the forward leg at a 90-degree angle. The front foot points toward the top of the mat while the back foot is at a 45-degree angle. The hips are square with the length of the mat. Unlike Virabhadrasana 2, the rear hand rests on the back leg, as the forward arm reaches to the sky, creating an arch in the back. The gaze is to the sky.

In English, this posture is known as side/reverse/inverted warrior or crescent pose.

Yogapedia explains Viparita Virabhadrasana

This asana is so named for the fierce mythological Hindu warrior, Virabhadra. Traditionally, viparita Virabhadrasana is believed to open the manipura chakra. By activating this chakra, the asana creates a sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and energy. Manipura also controls digestion and metabolism.

Viparita Virabhadrasana is a particularly beneficial pose for those with sedentary jobs. It's important for stretching the arms and sides of the torso, strengthening the lower body and opening the hips. It also opens the chest and builds core strength. Other benefits include increased blood circulation, reduction in fatigue, calming of the mind, perseverance and improved balance.

In a variation, both legs remain extended and straight, as in trikonasana (triangle pose). Virabhadrasana 1 and 2 are good preparatory poses for this asana.

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