First Weeks Flow
VIRABHADRASANA I - WARRIOR I POSE
Although it can sometimes feel like one battle after another, mastering this foundational pose offers great rewards. Your thigh muscles get a workout. Your feet and ankles are stretched and strengthened, and your core muscles are toned. Your arms are strengthened as they lift overhead, and your chest will open and expand your lungs, giving a great feeling of vigor. Opening your hips and chest and strengthening both your legs and arms prepare you for all kinds of backbends and inversions.
1. From High Lunge pose with the right knee bent, engage the legs to ground down through the feet, and inhale the hands up to the bent knee. Use the arms to draw the torso back slightly. Make sure the right knee is directly over the right ankle.
2. Bring the hands to the hips and square the hips and the shoulders to the front wall. Relax the shoulders down and draw the shoulderblades towards the spine to open the chest. 3. Inhale the arms over the head in a H position with the palms facing each other, or bring the palms together crossing the thumbs, or interlace the fingers together and point the index finger up. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the chest lifted.
4. To go deeper, bring the palms together and carefully arch back and look up towards the ceiling.
5. Inhale deeply into the belly and chest, exhale press into the feet, fingers and crown, feeling your body expanding out in 5 directions.
6. Keep breathing and hold for 3-6 breaths.
7. To release, exhale and lower the hands down to the floor.
- Strengthens your shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of your back.
- Expands your chest, lungs and shoulders.
- Stretches your hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles.
- Develops stamina and endurance in your thighs and core muscles.
- Stimulates abdominal organs and digestion.
- Improves your balance, concentration, and core awareness.
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Medical conditions that affect balance
- Shoulder Problems (Tendonitis or Bursitis) - As your arms are raised keep your hands open and arms parallel to avoid compression into the shoulder joint.
- Neck Problems - Maintain eyes forward and keep your chin parallel to the ground.
- Beginners may find it difficult to keep the back heel grounded, therefore move your left foot a few inches to the left so your heels are staggered and not aligned.
- If you have difficulty balancing or find the pose to deep, decrease the distance between your feet several inches; ensure that your right knee is still over the heel and not over the toes.
- For a deeper variation, move your left heel back a few more inches and bring your right thigh parallel with the floor; ensure that your right knee is still over the heel and not over the toes, and keep your tailbone reaching lightly under.
- For more challenge, bring the palms together in prayer as the arms are raised; keep your shoulders from rising and continue to hug the shoulder blades into the back; lightly press the pinky region of your palms together moving more energy up the arms and creating a subtle external rotation of the arms.
Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, back or shoulders.
Try these tips to optimize your practice of Warrior Pose I:
Troubled Balance: If you feel unbalanced, create a more stable base by placing your front foot a few inches out from your body’s midline.
Back Foot Lifting: Place a wedge under your heel to help you press down or press your heel against a wall; you’ll feel more grounded.
Tender Back Knee: If your back knee feels strained, engage your thigh muscles to lift the knee cap, keeping the back leg fully straightened.
Lower Back Pain: Try this variation: Bend slightly forward from the hips, lengthening your torso on a diagonal. Work your abdominals for support.
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