Positioning Virabhadrasana I: Warrior I Pose

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By Ray Long, MD, FRCSC • May 31st, 2011 • 106291 Views

Positioning Virabhadrasana I: Warrior I Pose

Warrior I illustrates the concept of creating stillness by balancing simultaneous movements in different directions. The front hip flexors and back hip extensors engage to descend and stabilize the pelvis while the chest lifts upward toward the sky. Similarly, the front hip and knee flex to create a sense of forward movement while the back hip and knee extend to constrain the rear foot onto the mat. As a result of these simultaneous movements, the body becomes a storehouse for potential energy, like a sprinter preparing to bolt out of the blocks.

Positioning Warrior I after Parsvottanasana in the standing pose sequence creates a synergistic progression that continues the turn of the pelvis from facing forward in poses such as Trikonasana and Warrior II, to facing toward the front leg in Warrior I. Placing Warrior I after Parsvottanasana balances folding forward (Parsvottanasana) with expanding upward (Warrior I). In Parsvottanasana the torso folds over the leg to create a deep stretch along the back side of the body; Warrior I rises from this position, expanding from the core and extending upward through the chest.

Basic Joint Positions

•           The back foot turns inward 30 degrees and supinates.

•           The front foot turns out 90 degrees.

•           The back hip and knee extend.

•           The front hip and knee flex.

•           The shoulders flex overhead.

•           The elbows extend.

•           The back extends.

•           The cervical spine extends.

Virabhadrasana I Preparation

Take the general form of the pose by turning the hips toward the front leg. Activate the back-leg buttocks and thigh muscles. Raise the arms and lift the chest. In this position, flex the front hip and knee to ninety degrees (keep the knee aligned over the ankle). In the beginning or when you feel fatigued, lessen the bend in the knee to make the pose easier. Maintain the alignment of the front-leg femur and tibia when you come out of the pose. This aids to protect the knee joint. You can also add a stretch of the front hip extensors to the preparation by using the bent-knee version of Supta Padangusthasana.

STEP 1 Flex the front hip by engaging the psoas and its synergistic hip flexors. Note on the image how the psoas anteverts the pelvis and draws the lumbar spine forward. Balance the action of the psoas with that of the back-leg gluteus maximus to stabilize the pelvis. The quadriceps contract to sustain the pose and prevent the knee from...

Ray Long, MD, FRCSC

Location:  Baldwinsville, US

Ray Long, MD, FRCSC, began his study of human anatomy and science at a young age under the guidance of his father, David Michael Long Jr., MD, PhD, a cardiovascular surgeon and research scientist. He went...