Keep your focus with Virabhadrasana II or the fierce warrior!
Keeping your focus when the daily grind crushes over you
Imagine your phone is ringing when you are typing an email to your boss and simultaneously trying to fix the error in your excel file, whilst your kids are screaming in the background as it`s another week of homeschooling.
Well, it`s probably time for a bit of focus to get things done. Not trying to do two (or more) things at a time and finally leaving the desk with the feeling that nothing has been achieved at all. But how can we keep a laser-like focus which will last throughout the whole day?
It´s time to go to the mat
Have you ever tried Virabhadrasana II, named for a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, during a Yoga session? It looks like a very easy pose, you stand strong on both legs, with the feet approx. double hip-distance apart and, your front foot pointing to the top of the mat, your front leg bent in a 90-degree angle, the back foot turned out 90 degrees to the site. Your arms are taken out to each side, palms faced down. Your gaze fixes on one point towards the front arm and leg so you can stabilize your breath and hold your stands.
Normally, you will be instructed to hold this for a couple of seconds, before you move on to the next positions, sometimes (especially in Ashtanga Yoga) you are holding the pose longer. Your legs start to get strained, likewise your arms. Still, you breathe and focus your gaze on one single point in front of you.
Can you hold this pose once the muscles are clenching? Can you manage to find ease in this position, even if you hold it longer as it feels comfortable?
Feel the comfort of unease
The trick is to stable root your feet to the ground and zip the energy through your pelvis floor along the spine to let go at the crown of the head. In addition, you reach your arms in opposite directions, feeling the pull to both sites. You open up to all four corners: to the floor, to the top, and to both sides. Feel the grounding through your feet, be stable in your stands and keep your focus. Now watch your breath. Can you dedicate your breath to wherever you feel the tension? Can you let go of the pressure and relax into the pose?
If you are doing it correctly, Warrior II is a great pose for every muscle: it strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles, stretches the groins, chest, and lungs, shoulders, stimulates abdominal organs, and overall increases stamina.
Moreover, like most Yoga asanas, Virabhadrasana II is mentally challenging: the longer you hold the pose, the more the muscles tend to clench and get tense. If you manage to let go of the tension and still hold the pose this asana will help you strengthen your power and endurance; it trains you to keep your focus and direct your gaze to the future.
Yoga is never single purposed
Therefore, I love Yoga so much. Not only will you train your body, align your muscles, and keep a steady breath, but it also helps your mental focus and clarity. If I can keep my stability and focus during practice, I can mirror this feeling to other situations in life. No matter how stressful and demanding a situation might be, I can remind myself of my practice, focus on my breath, feel the grounding through my feet, and still feel the openness at the top of my head. It trains the ability to find ease and stillness of mind in places you would rather not be.
It trains your endurance, courage, and self-confidence in a safe manner as it is easy to hold with a minor risk of misalignment and injuries.
The next time you search for the right focus in your life make a pause, go to your mat and align yourself in the pose of the fierce warrior. Feel how the energy pulls through you, feel the stability you can create in your body. Take a deep breath in and direct your gaze to the front – envision your goal and keep your focus.
"The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus."