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200Hrs Yoga Teacher Training

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Bonus. Story of Asana. Virabhadrasana

Mythology of Virabhadrasana

The story of Virabhadra has been written in the epic poem “Kumarasabhava” or “The birth of Kumara” (son of Shiva and Sati), by the poet “Kalidasa”.

The legend begins with a tragic love story with the marriage of Shiva, the God of destruction, and Sati, the divine force. Sati was the daughter of the powerful King Daksha, who ruled by laws and regulations and was a great defender of traditional society.

Shiva was the opposite, he was out of the norm, he wore jatars (dreadlocks), he used to meditate in the cemetery with the ashes of the dead and he never attended social events and preferred to isolate himself in the mountains to meditate. 

King Daksha did not approve of Shiva since he was against what he believed in but still, Shiva and Sati got married.

One day, the king organized a huge ceremony, called “Yagna”, to which he invited everyone (gods, mythological creatures, etc) except his daughter and his son-in-law because he was furious with them.

Sati was very angry that her father had not invited them to the party but she still decided to show up there and confront him. Shiva preferred not to attend and remained meditating. King Daksha did not want to receive her daughter or talk to her and when he finally agreed to her it was to ridicule her and her husband in front of his guests.

Enraged, Sati sat in the middle of the room and began to meditate, entered a trance, and through yogic exercises, she began to increase her internal fire (Agni) to the point that she caught fire and died.

The news of Sati’s death quickly reached Shiva’s ears and he unleashed his fury by ripping off his clothes and jatars. He took one of these dreadlocks and smashed it hard into the ground, creating Virabhadra, his “warrior friend.”

Shiva asked the warrior Virabhadra to go to the Yagna to avenge the death of his beloved Sati.

Virabhadra arrived at the Yagna, attacked the king, cutting off his head and then killing everyone present as well. Once Virabhadra’s mission was accomplished, Shiva appeared at the party and absorbed the warrior into himself. He wanted to enjoy revenge on him, but he did the opposite. Seeing all the destruction and pain that he had caused he felt a lot of pain and sadness and his anger turned to compassion.

He searched for the decapitated body of his father-in-law, the king, and wanted to bring her back to life. He placed on it the head of the first living thing he encountered, a goat. The king recognized the goodness and purity of Shiva’s heart and bowed before him, dissolving the sorrow and remorse he felt.

Shiva then collected the remains of his wife and retired to Mount Kailash (holy mountain) to live a life of solitude and meditation. Later he also revived Sati by incarnating her as his second wife Parvati.

The Meaning 

According to Hindu mythology, Shiva represents the pure being, Sati the heart, and Daksha the ego. When Virabhadra cuts off the king’s head he is fighting against his own ego.

This asana represents the spiritual warrior, the fight against our ego and ignorance, the source of our suffering.

By practicing this asana, we can inject ourselves with the energy of Virabhadra: firm presence, determination, strength, internal balance, and security. 

Virabhadrasana awakens our strength and will, he is the warrior who fights against the internal enemy that limits us.

Never give up, stand tall and brave. Virabhadrasana, the warrior pose, evokes the strongest image of a fearless soldier, holding their spear at ready, body steadfast on the ground. When entering this pose, remember it and stay firm in your resolve.


  1. Thank you for this bonus lesson, though short it made a difference. Knowing the idea behind a pose helps to appreciate it, understand it, and perform it better.

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