Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

वीरभद्रासन

Vīrabhadrāsana -Veer-aa-ba-DRA-SUN-aa 

This pose is named after the ancient warrior Virabhadra, one of Shiva’s incarnations. This is a standing posture that is good for building leg strength and stability. With it, you become more focused and balanced both physically and mentally.

How to get into it

  1. Start in a Mountain pose on the front end of your mat. Give yourself a few moments to focus on breathing and calm down your mind.
  2. You can keep your palms pressed together in front of your heart.
  3. On the exhale, step your left foot back and turn its heel 45° so that both heels are placed on one line. Then, engage the left quad to straighten the left leg.
  4. Bend the right knee to align it with your right foot (the knee is on top of the heel). If you need, push the knee forward until you get a 90° angle between the right thigh and right calf.
  5. Toes point to the front edge of the mat. Press the inner side of the sole to the floor. Mind checking with inner attention (or literally with your eyes – for beginners) where the weight is on your left sole. Try to shift the body’s weight to the outer side of the left sole and distribute it more or less evenly for better balance.
  6. Push your torso so that it fits right in the middle between soles. Tilt the tailbone a little to keep the straight pelvis line.
  7. Also, engage your abdominal muscles to keep the core in place. On the next inhale, you can lift your hands and press palms together. Gaze up, focus your eyes on your thumbs. Pull shoulders away from ears. Try to lengthen the sides of the body and get more space in the core.
  8. Hold the pose for 5-10 breathe cycles and release. Repeat on the other leg.

Benefits

  • Improves balance and stability in legs starting from soles. Helps stretch thighs.
  • Prepares the body for more difficult poses like Warrior II and Warrior III.
  • Strengthens core and back muscles. Has a therapeutical effect for sciatica.
  • Helps open up the chest and stretch the core improving the breathing capacity.
  • Creates mental and emotional strength and concentration.

Precautions

Not recommended to practice if you have high blood pressure, knee surgery, or shoulder injury.
Don’t gaze up on your thumbs if you experience neck problems or injuries. Instead, look in front of you and keep the neck in a neutral position.

Modifications

Beginners: If you find it challenging to keep the heel on the floor, use a towel to prop it. If you have tight shoulders – keep your hands shoulder-width apart instead of pressing your palms together.

Pro: To challenge yourself, hold the pose for a longer time.

Common mistakes

Knee goes too far

To avoid knee injuries or pain, try to keep your knee over the calf. Do not push the knee past the line of your toes.

Hips not aligned

Those with tight hips often have difficulties squaring hips to the front. To maintain the proper position of the hips and pelvis:

  1. Put your hands on the pelvic bones (those sticking above your jean’s belt).
  2. Ensure that both bones are facing towards the front edge of your mat.
  3. Adjust your legs if necessary.

About

Stephanie started her yoga journey back in 2018 in an Ashtanga class. She likes to experiment and try new challenging postures and yoga tricks. When off the mat, sharing yoga lifehacks is another thing to do. She believes that energy settled in a safe and physically correct form can make you feel better not only in your body but deep inside your soul too.