Parsva Virabhadrasana

Definition - What does Parsva Virabhadrasana mean?

Parsva Virabhadrasana, or reverse warrior, is a standing lateral bend that provides a deep side stretch. The name is derived from the Sanskrit parsva, meaning “side” or “flank”; Virabhadra, an incarnation of Shiva and a powerful warrior in Hindu mythology; and asana, meaning "pose." It is also sometimes called viparita Virabhadrasana, or reverse warrior pose.

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

Yogapedia explains Parsva Virabhadrasana

Traditionally, parsva Virabhadrasana is believed to activate the manipura chakra - the third chakra associated with the solar plexus. By opening this chakra, the asana provides a sense of self-confidence, self-esteem and energy. The manipura chakra also controls digestion and metabolism.

Parsva Virabhadrasana is beneficial 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. It is an especially beneficial asana for those with sedentary jobs. Other benefits include:

  • Calming of the mind.
  • Perseverance and heightened self-esteem.
  • Energizing of the body.
  • Improved balance.

One can also practice a variation of this pose where both legs remain extended and straight, as in trikonasana (triangle pose). Virabhadrasana 1 and 2 are good preparatory poses for this asana.

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter