Warrior 1 Pose: Virabhadrasana I

Updated: Feb 27




Name: Warrior 1 Pose


Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana I


Pose Intensity: Medium


Goal: Increases hip flexibility and stability


Getting into the Pose:


Starting in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Take hands onto the hips.

Exhale, gentle step the left foot back the mat into crescent lunge. Make sure the right knee is stacking over the ankle and you can see your big toe over the knee.

Open the left foot so the toes are facing the top left corner of the mat.

Gently turn the torso to the right, squaring the hips as much as possible. Press into the back heel and outer foot edge

With the heel firmly anchored, inhale to lift the arms and strongly reach the fingers towards the ceiling. Draw the shoulders down the back and keep the shoulders away from the ear.

As you press into the back foot, feel the lift and support in the left leg. Use the push of the heel to push the left hip forward and squeeze the left glute to keep the pelvis square. Tuck the tailbone and lift through the chest but try not to bring a backbend into the pose. Keep the head in a neutral position and gaze forward.

Hold this pose for 5 breaths keeping the hips strong and square and the legs engaged.


Coming out of the Pose:


On an exhale, release the arms towards the ground. Rotate the left foot onto the toes; into runners lunge. Then step forward and repeat on the other side.


Variation:


The pose can be made to feel more challenging by bending deeper into the front knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor. This requires the hips to be stronger and more flexible. If the shoulders are flexible, the hands can touch at the top and the palms can push together, but make sure the integrity of the open shoulders aren’t compromised.


Modifications:


Beginners might find it difficult to ground the back heel and keep the hips square in this pose. For a short term solution, use a small wedge for under the heel, or practice with the heel against a wall to help assist it’s depth. If the hips do not feel strong or stable, decrease the depth slightly.

If the arms tire quickly, the arms can be placed on the hips.


The 3 Top Tips


1. Squeeze the kneecap of the back leg to create a strong foundation

2.Squeeze the back glutes to square the hips

3. Lengthen the tailbone down by tucking the pelvis, as if you’re thrusting the pelvis forward.


The Basics



Benefits


Strengthens the quads and glutes

Increases flexibility and stability in the hips

Improves balance and stability

May have therapeutic applications for sciatica


Cautions


Avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure and heart problems.

If you have a shoulder injury, keep the hands separate or keep the hands on the hips.

If you have any neck problems, make sure to keep the head in a neutral position.


As one of the first yoga poses you might learn, it takes a long time to truly master the pose. Give your hips and spine time to adjust and open.