Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Type: Standing pose
Level: Beginner

Steps:
From mountain pose, take a big step back with your left leg so that your left foot is pointing to the left about 45 degrees. Feet should remain hip width apart. The body faces the front of the mat. Bend your front knee and thigh, keeping the weight in the front heel and big toe and the back foot is pressing from the outer heel. Square the hips and ensure the knee is directly above the ankle. On an inhalation lift the arms up straight, releasing the shoulders from the ears and widen the shoulder blades.
Stay in the pose 5-15 breaths. Come out on an inhalation, pressing your back heel as you straighten the front leg and lower the arms. Then step the back foot forward to return to mountain before performing the pose on the other side.

Variations:

  • You could try different variations with the arms
  • You could look straight forward instead of looking up at the hands

Props & Assistance:
It can be difficult to keep the back heel grounded so you could position yourself near a wall and concentrate on keeping it grounded by pushing it against the wall.

Preparatory poses:

To do this pose you need to be open in the muscles of the legs, knees, shoulders and hips. Good poses to help with this include:

  • Mountain
  • Downward dog
  • Cow face
  • Triangle
  • Wide legged forward bend
  • Reclining Hero
  • Reclining Bound angle
  • Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
  • Wide legged seated forward bend
  • Extended side angle
  • Warrior II
  • Hero
  • Tree

Follow up poses:

  • Mountain
  • Commonly used as the beginning position for Warrior III
  • Also a good standing pose preparation for backbends.

Benefits:

  • Stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, neck, stomach and groin
  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms and the muscles of the back
  • Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves and ankles
  • Therapeutic for Sciatica

Caution/Avoid:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Shoulder problem: keep arms parallel (or slightly wider than parallel) to each other
  • Neck problem: keep head in neutral position and do not look up at the hands
  • If you are thinking of starting yoga and have a medical condition, it is advisable to check with your doctor

Written by Sarah Williams. Sarah is a Qualified Yoga Teacher based in London with an online presence on Instagram and Facebook. She also blogs about yoga and health & well being topics on her website. Sarah’s focus is Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles of yoga and she completed part of her training in India. https://sarahlucyyoga.wixsite.com/yoga, @sarahlucyyoga

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