Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Virabhadrasana I: Warrior I

Of all the yoga poses probably the most famous are the Warrior poses. Warrior I is the easiest pose of the three variations, but there are still many aspects that make this pose challenging. This pose is called Virabhadrasana is named after Virabhadra, a famous warrior and hero.  

To come into Warrior I you can start standing at the front of your mat and step one leg back. In most Vinyasa Flow classes students come into Warrior I from downward facing dog and stepping one foot forward before coming up to standing in the pose.

You want your feet to be about 3 to 4 feet apart. The toes of your front foot is facing forward to the front of your mat. Your back foot is at a 45 degree angle to your front foot. Root both feet into the ground. 

Bend your front knee so it's over your heel. Square your hips to the front of your mat. Make sure you heels are not in the same line so your hips can face forward. Engage your back leg and roll the outside edge of your back foot into the ground. 

Reach your hands up over head. Draw your shoulders down you back, making sure they aren't up near your ears. Turn your pinkies towards the center of your body to open your shoulders. Feel the crown of your head reach up as your feet root into the ground. Your gaze can be up towards your fingers or straight ahead. 

This pose will work on stretching your hips while building strength. The lower body is engaged for support and the upper body is extending and lengthening. 

Hold Virabhadrasana I for 7 to 10 breaths. You can add movement to the pose by circling your arms. Start with your arms over your head, take an inhale and as you exhale drop your arms in front of you and as you inhale circle them behind you and bring them back up overhead. 

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