Upward-Facing Dog
March 27, 2015
Warrior II Pose
March 27, 2015

Warrior 1 Pose

LEVEL

Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Virabhadrasana I
(VEER-ah-bha-DRAS-anna one)
Virabhadra = a powerful warrior who
arose from Shiva's matted locks

BENEFITS

  • Strengthens arms, legs, shoulders, and back
  • Stretches hamstrings, calves, ankles, and shoulders
  • Encourages deep breathing
  • Improves balance and focus
  • Creates sense of strength and confidence

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Leg, knee, hip, or shoulder injuries
  • Diarrhea
  • Weak heart or weak constitution
  • High blood pressure

HOW TO

  1. Begin standing in Tadasana (Mountain pose). Step your left foot about 3 1/2 feet back. Turn your left foot 45 degrees to the left.
  2. Shift your hips so they are both facing the front of your mat. Press evenly through the center of your front heel and the outer edge of your back foot.
  3. Inhale and reach your arms toward the sky with palms facing each other. Reach through your fingertips and draw the shoulders down.
  4. Exhale and bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Make sure that your right knee is not beyond your right toes.
  5. Engage your abdomen and draw your tailbone down, toward the pelvis. Keep pressing through the outer edge of the left foot and lift your ribcage away from the hips.
  6. Stay in Warrior I pose for several breaths. Inhale and straighten your right leg; then exhale and release your arms, stepping your feet together. Change sides.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • Depending on your height, you may need to step your feet wider or closer together.
  • To lessen the stretch in the shoulders, bend your elbows to the sides and bring the upper arms parallel to the ground in Cactus pose.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Align the front knee over the ankle.
  • Anchor the outer edge of the back foot to the ground.
  • Draw the shoulders down.
  • Tuck the tailbone under.

VARIATIONS

  • Touch the palms overhead.
  • Gaze up toward the hands.
  • Gently arch the spine backward.

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Front knee beyond the ankle or splaying to either side
  • Outer edge of the back foot lifted from the floor
  • Overarching the low back
  • Shoulders hunched