Warrior I – Virabhadrasana I

Etymology

Virabhadra = Warrior

Benefits

  • Strenghtens the arms, shoulders, spine, thighs, calves and ankle
  • Expands the chest and lungs
  • Increases flexibility in the hips and shoulders
  • Stimulates and tone your abdominals
  • Improves the sense of balance.

Instructions

  • Start in Downdog;
  • Inhale, step your right foot forward in between your hands and spin your back foot down to 45 degrees angle;
  • Pause to align your left heel with the right heel;
  • Front knee bent to 90 degrees and keep your front toes pointing forward (you might need to slide your back foot further back to reach a 90 degrees angle);
  • Check that your front knee is right over your heel (you should be able to see your big toe);
  • Square your hips to the front but keep your back leg up and straight (to do so, lift and spin the inner thigh to help you to rotate the back hip forward);
  • Inhale, push from the front heel to lift your torso up;
  • Raise your arms above your head, palms facing each other;
  • Pull your arms behind your ears, firm your shoulderblades against your back and draw them down;
  • Exhale, pull your waistline back, hollow your belly in;
  • Head in a neutral position and gaze forward;
  • To come out: exhale, release your hands to the floor and push back to Downward Facing Dog, and do the same with the other leg!

Variation for beginners

If you have difficulties to maintain the balance or if your hips/hamstrings are really tight, you may shorten the distance between your feet, but keep your knee over your heel. After a while, your flexibility and balance will improve.

Tip for beginners

You can also use the wall as a prop: place your back heel against the wall which will give you a better stability. Push your back foot against the wall as you rotate your back hip forward.