Warrior I Pose: Virabhadrasana I
- Strengthens your shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of your back.
- Expands your chest, lungs and shoulders.
- Stretches your hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles.
- Develops stamina and endurance in your thighs and core muscles.
- Stimulates abdominal organs and digestion.
- Improves your balance, concentration, and core awareness.
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Medical conditions that affect balance
- Shoulder Problems (Tendonitis or Bursitis) - As your arms are raised keep your hands open and arms parallel to avoid compression into the shoulder joint.
- Neck Problems - Maintain eyes forward and keep your chin parallel to the ground.
Virabhadrasana I (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)
Virabhadra = the name of the warrior who is an incarnation of Shiva
- Begin in Mountain Pose. Exhale as you step your left foot back three to four feet. Align your left heel behind your right heel and then turn you left foot out 45 degrees keeping your right foot forward.
- Rotate your hips so both of your hip points are facing forward and parallel to the fron of your mat.
- Gently root the outer edges of your left foot into the mat as your hips and shoulders rotate forward.
- Inhale and raise your arms perpendicular to the ground keeping your arms open, shoulder width apart and parallel to each other.
- Reach through your fingertips as the palms face inwards and draw your shoulders blades down encouraging your shoulders to move down and away from the neck. Feel as though your shoulder blades lightly hug into your back.
- As you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis so your tailbone moves down and under. Slowly bend your right knee placing aligning your knee over your heel.
- As you continue to breathe, feel your right heel anchoring allowing the toes to lighten and spread. Applying slightly more pressure in your right heel rather than the toes will keep your right knee more stable and will minimize the force being placed into the knee joint. Continue to draw your tailbone under and towards the pubic bone and feed the bottom front ribs in keeping your abdomen from swaying outward.
- Picture the pubic bone lifting towards your navel.
- Keep strengthening the pose by pressing the outer left heel into the floor sending a lifting energy up the left leg into the pelvis and through to the arms.
- Stay tall over the pelvis feeling your ribcage (especially the back edge) lift away from your pelvis. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt your head back and look comfortably up at your thumbs.
- Breathe slowly and stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- To exit, exhale to lower your arms and place your hands onto the hips. Inhale as you press firmly into your right heel and step your left leg forward. Exhale to release your hands from the hips and adjust your feet and pelvis into Mountain Pose.
- Take a few breaths and then repeat with the other side for the same length of time.
- Beginners may find it difficult to keep the back heel grounded, therefore move your left foot a few inches to the left so your heels are staggered and not aligned.
- If you have difficulty balancing or find the pose to deep, decrease the distance between your feet several inches; ensure that your right knee is still over the heel and not over the toes.
- For a deeper variation, move your left heel back a few more inches and bring your right thigh parallel with the floor; ensure that your right knee is still over the heel and not over the toes, and keep your tailbone reaching lightly under.
- For more challenge, bring the palms together in prayer as the arms are raised; keep your shoulders from rising and continue to hug the shoulder blades into the back; lightly press the pinky region of your palms together moving more energy up the arms and creating a subtle external rotation of the arms.
Exploring Warrior 1