Virabhadrasana I | Warrior I Pose

(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Named after the mythic warrior-sage, Virabhadra

Type of pose : Standing




Warrior I Pose Benefits

• Strengthens the legs and back muscles
• Opens the chest and shoulders
• Tones abdominal muscles
• Relieves backache, lumbago and sciatica
• Relieves acidity and improves digestion
• Relieves menstrual pain and reduces heavy menstruation
• Strengthens the bladder.
• Creates heat in the body
Contraindications/Cautions
• Recent or chronic injury or inflammation of the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders • Cardiac condition • High blood pressure

Step by Step

◦ Stand straight with feet and legs together in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
◦ Step back with the left foot (3 – 4 feet). Ensure the toes of the back foot are turned in about 20 degrees. Align the heels to each other.[i)hip width, ii)heel to heel or iii) heel to arch].
◦ Your shoulders, chest and pelvis face forward. Draw the right hip back and the left hip forward, so that the hips are squared to the front.
◦ Front toes point straight ahead. Bend the forward knee, keeping it directly in line with the ankle. The thigh should be working toward parallel with the ground. Safety tip: The bent knee should not pass the ankle. The big toe should be visible. Ground down through the back leg, pressing the outside edge of the foot to the mat. This will allow the weight to shift into the back leg.
◦ Bring the arms up from the sides – first parallel to the ground and then up overhead, palms facing inward.
◦ Gaze up towards the thumbs, taking a slight backbend. Create length in the low back by drawing the sacrum down. Take care not to compress the neck by dropping the head back.
◦ Draw the shoulder blades down the back. Keep the back leg firm.
◦ Inhale and exhale, holding the pose for 20-30 seconds
◦ Bring your arms down to your side. Step forward with the back foot into mountain pose.

Repeat for other side

Alternative :
Move into Virabhadrasana I from Downward Facing Dog:
• pivot on the ball of the back foot and drop the back heel onto the floor with the toes turned out about 20 degrees from the heel.
• Step the right foot forward between the hands.
• Lift the torso to a standing position.
• Draw the right hip back and the left hip forward, so that the hips are squared to the front.

Beginners Tip: Step the left foot out hip width apart to allow more room for the hips to square.

Deepen the Pose: Use a wider foot stance to allow the front thigh to come parallel to the ground. Make sure the right knee stays directly over the right ankle. Line up the right heel with the center of the left arch. Ground down the outer edge of the left foot while lifting the inner arch of that foot. Really engage the quadriceps. Hold the pose for ten breaths or 15-20 seconds.

Misalignments:
Front knee extends too far over foot or not in line with toes; Back foot crosses behind the forward foot. Back knee collapsed; Abdominal muscles not engaged; Lower back collapses; Shoulders up too high; Lower ribs sticking out; Outside edge of back foot lifting; Compressed neck.

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