Step-By-Step Yoga Pose: Warrior I

You’ve made it through the holiday season and into the new year—now what? It’s time to power up and find your inner health warrior! Let the strength of this pose help carry all of your intentions throughout the year to come.

Warrior 1

Alias: Virabhadrasana I (“virabhadra” = warrior, “asana” = pose)

Why Warrior 1?
Fire up your inner strength and determination by practicing this challenging pose! Warrior 1 benefits include:

  • Stretching through the psoas, abdomen and chest
  • Building strength in the legs, shoulders and arms
  • Fostering a sense of empowerment and focus
  • Encountering (and overcoming!) your mental doubts

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Getting into the posture:

  • Start standing with your feet placed hip-width apart.
  • Inhale as you step your right foot forward 3.5-4.5 feet.
  • Rotate the toes of your left foot slightly outward to a 45-degree angle. Press down firmly through the outside edge of your foot and square your torso forward toward the top of your mat.
  • Inhale, raise your arms above your head and spread your fingers wide. Rotate your pinkies slightly inward and relax your shoulders down your back.
  • Exhale, ground down through the back heel and bend your front leg so that thigh comes as close to parallel with the floor as is possible in your body.
    • Make sure the knee stays stacked directly above the ankle. Keep the knee facing forward in line with the toes instead of letting it collapse inward.
  • Root both feet into the ground. Gently pull your belly to spine to engage your core muscles.
  • Stay in the pose for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. Find one gazing point to look at and then focus on your breath.
    • Limiting thoughts can come up as physical intensity builds in this pose. Mentally focus on achieving one of your personal goals with this practice.
  • To exit the pose, straighten the front leg and step your right foot back to meet the left. Inhale, and feel the ground underneath your feet. Exhale and release your arms down to your sides.
  • Repeat the sequence starting with the left foot forward.
  • Practice this pose in moments where you feel you need a little extra power and focus to move forward with your goals.

Tips for success:

  • Pull your navel to spine and aim the tailbone toward the ground to level your pelvis. This helps avoid extra compression in the lumbar spine.
  • If your hips are especially tight, step your feet further apart to start,
  • Relax your shoulders down and away from your ears. Keep your neck relaxed.
  • Focus on grounding/pressing down through the feet.

Variations/Modifications:

  • Clasped Hands: Lower your arms down and clasp your hands behind your back with fingers interlaced. Pull your interlaced hands down to open up through the chest. Take your gaze slightly upward. Make sure you continue to engage your abdomen. Think about lengthening the front of your body up rather than crunching down into your lower back.

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Contraindications (i.e., things to keep in mind):

  • Spine/back pain: Exit the pose if it irritates your lower back.
  • Knee injury: Only bend into the front knee as far as is comfortable and safe for you.
  • Shoulder injury: Keep hands placed together at heart center rather than extending the arms upward.

Natalie Sober is a yoga enthusiast who is inspired to share her knowledge. Natalie completed her first RYT-200 hour yoga teacher training course in Telkot, Nepal, in the Sanatan style of yoga before obtaining her second RYT-200 hour certification in the Power Vinyasa style. She also happens to be a member of Pharmaca’s marketing department.

*Please consult your physician before beginning this series or any exercise program. As always, your body is the best teacher so listen to the cues it gives regarding whether or not a pose is a good idea.

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