Warrior I is a standing asana, so called in honor of a mythological Hindu hero, Virabhadra and it is one of the most popular yoga asana. It is the first of three versions and it is the first step during a warrior sequence.
As the embodiment of God Shiva, Virabhadra was valiant, powerful and had many arms and eyes of fire. Just like a warrior, this asana gives attention, strength and stability. Ignoring the mythological significance, the warrior is understood as the spiritual fighter in each of us who fights battles day after day and faces the difficulties that life faces before us. It’s a pretty demanding asana because it’s an intense bush where the back is stretched up and the chest opens. The constant practice of this position gives physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength, and helps to cope with life with greater calm and balance
Even this, like most positions, is always better to do it after a gentle warm up (You could use a Sun Salutation, for example)
Here’s how to do it:
- Start by taking the position Tadasana, mountain pose.
- Now, do a deep breath and, with a jump, spread your legs about one meter / a and a half (depends on your height). It is the same movement that you do when you run Utthita Trikonasana, Triangle pose.
- When you jump, keep your arms wide at shoulder height.
- In the next exhalation you have to turn right both feet. The right foot should be turned about 90 ° towards the end of the mat, while the left foot should be turned about 45 ° -60 °. The heel of the front foot should be aligned with the arch of the foot behind.
- At this point rotates the torso to the right, tries to align the basin with the front of the mat. The left flank will tend to rotate, you must try to counter this and push it forward. Help by activating the foot behind and pushing the heel to the ground. It extends the coccyx to the ground and slightly buzzes the top of the torso back.
- Now bend the right knee until the thigh and tibia form 90 °. The knee should be placed over the ankle without protruding further, and the tibia must be perpendicular to the ground. The left leg should be elongated and stretched.
- First try to stabilize with your legs and only at this point stretch the arms up to the sky. Only at this point can you raise your head and turn your eyes to your hands in Anjali mudra. You can close your eyes or watch your hands up. If raising your hands is too demanding:
Keep on your hips
Spread to the height of the hips
Keep them up over your head at the same width as the shoulders
- Try to stay in the position starting with a few breaths and as soon as you try to stretch the time. But do not worry too much, all the standing positions, especially this, are extremely tiring. The important thing is that while you perform the asana you keep breathing with long, slow, deep and calm breaths.
- To get out of position lower your hands, stretch your right leg and finally roll your pelvis and your feet back.
Now do some deep breaths then start running Virabhadrasana I on the other side.
Once you leave the position, return to Tadasana, continue your sequence, or perform the final relaxation in Savasana (Corpse Pose).
Try to build the position always starting from the bottom. Put your feet in the position you look more stable, then begin to adjust your legs, knees and hips. Only once your base is stable can you concentrate on the upper body.
To make sure your hips are aligned, put your hands over and, if they are not, try to adjust. Try to bring the back leg forward. Help with your hands if you need it.
While doing this asana remember to stretch the coccyx down and lift the pubis towards the navel. This in addition to giving you more stability allows the lumbar region to stretch out better.
Push the back leg and activate the thigh. This helps both stabilize the position and bring the side, which tends to go backward.
Try to keep your body weight in the center of both feet for greater stability and to work your legs fairly
Remember not to contract the neck, if it is difficult to look forward and not to the top.
His shoulders are open and relaxed.
Like all yoga positions, even Virabhadrasana I has many benefits if it is performed correctly and consistently.
- It extends the whole front of the body.
- It strengthens the ankles, calves, thighs, knees and back.
- It improves both physical and mental resistance, coordination and balance.
- The chest opens completely and therefore improves breathing.
- It can be therapeutic for sciatica.
- Mentally Virabhadrasana I creates a profound concentration. Focusing itself makes the body’s energy much elevated. Even though the body is making a physical effort, the mind becomes calm and serene.
- It removes stiffness on the neck, shoulders, and back.
Remember to always consider you yoga level and accept your body limits. Take your time and try to add this amazing posture to your practice and commit to explore it a little bit deeper every single day. That’s the key to embrace yourself, your body and become a more balanced and strong person, in both your body and your soul!