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Discovering the Benefits of Warrior Pose

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One of the more common poses in yoga asana is the Warrior pose, also called Virabhadrasana’s pose. Named after Virabhadra, he was a mythical warrior with a thousand arms and hair and eyes made from fire, who was brought forth by Shiva to destroy an enemy. Each of the four main poses represent the sequence of his battle against his opponent, including his creation, battle, victory, then peace (seen in Reverse Warrior Pose).

More than just poses based on Hindu mythology to represent your inner spiritual warrior, the Warrior pose offers physical benefits, too. Our yoga studio in Smithfield wanted to take the opportunity to break down the primary Warrior I pose, how to do it, and the benefits you can experience.

Stepping into Warrior I Pose

To move into Warrior I pose, first, stand in Tadasana, also called Mountain Pose, which is a where you stand up straight with your arms at your side and your feet grounded in the earth while elongating your body. This is the foundation of all standing poses, so it’s important to know this pose before moving into any of the Virabhadrasana.

As you exhale, step to the side with your feet three to four feet apart and place your hands on your hips. Next, turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees so it’s pointing more to the right, and then point your right foot 90 degrees to the right, aligning the right heel with your left heel.

This will allow you to rotate your torso to the right as you exhale so your pelvis is pointing forward over your right foot with your left foot behind you. Arch your upper torso back slightly and open your chest up as you prepare to move forward.

Press your left heel into the floor firmly as you exhale and bend your right knee over your right ankle. The shin will be straight up and down, perpendicular to the floor, and the right thigh will be close to parallel (though if not completely parallel, simply go at your comfort level).

Right now, your hands to your hips. Reach upward through your arms, slowly and intentionally. Your back foot should continue to press into the floor and you should feel a stretch from the back leg, through your torso, and into the arms. If you can, bring your palms together as you raise them to the ceiling, arching your upper back slightly and keeping your head in either a neutral position or tilted back to look at your thumbs. If possible, stay in this position for up to one minute.

To leave this pose, press your back heel into the floor, reach up with your arms, and straighten your front knee. This will allow you to turn your feet forward, and bring your arms down as you exhale. You can turn your feet to the left and stretch into the pose with your left leg as the forward, follow the steps again, then, return to the Tadasana pose.

Benefits of the Warrior I Pose

Now that you know how to do this pose, let’s look at how it can benefit you.

  • Whole body strengthening and toning, including the shoulders, arms, legs, and back;
  • Opens your torso and lungs to encourage improved circulation and deep breathing;
  • Provides deep stretching through the arms, shoulders, neck, and down through the belly, buttocks, and legs.
  • Improves balance, stamina, and stability;
  • Improves your focus.

Doing this pose through your asana practice can provide you with whole body strengthening and stretching, warming your muscles and leaving you feeling exhilarated and energized, rather than depleted.

Sign Up for a Yoga Class in Smithfield Today

While learning yoga at home and practicing on your own can be beneficial, learning the poses in a class setting ensures you’re getting the instruction necessary to do them properly. After all, improper movement can lead to injury, and having an instructor with you who can help you will allow you to get the most benefit. Check out our yoga classes and join us, and if you have any questions, give us a call at 919-971-1431 or fill out our contact form.

Though introduced to yoga over 30 years ago, Martha has been teaching yoga since 2001. She received her 200 hour yoga training in 2003 and is now an E-RYT 500. Additional education: M.S. in Health Psychology, Integrative Health Coach and Mindful Awareness Meditation instructor (Duke Integrative Medicine), and over 800 hours of Yoga Therapy training. She has a school for 200 hour and beginning in the winter of 2014, a 300 hour advanced yoga certification which will award a cumulative 500 hour teacher training in compliance with Yoga Alliance. Martha's envisions yoga as a form of health, healing and well being for all people. Her students range from health professionals to yoga practitioners seeking a deeper understanding of the benefits of yoga. See all of our yoga classes.

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