• How to do Virabhadrasana A (Warrior 1)

    Virabhadrasana A or Warrior 1 is an important pose for the cardiovascular system. Your heart rate goes up, increasing your circulation when your arms are raised above your head and your legs are firmly pressing into the ground.

    Warrior 1 also helps strengthen the legs and back while increasing space between the vertebrae. It prepares you for back bending which requires that same strength in the legs and articulation through the spine. Warrior 1 is a very important pose for energizing the body. It can be mildly therapy when you’re experiencing light states of depression.

    This pose helps you build a firm foundation for the legs. It is originally considered a balancing pose because you are gazing up at your thumbs as you maintain the solid foundation of your legs.

    Start by standing at the front of your mat. Now step back with your right foot. It is important to have an appropriate distance between your feet. You want to have the distance of about the length of one of your legs between your feet. Doing that tailors the pose to your own height.

    Externally rotate your back foot at a 45° angle. Your front foot is pointed forward. Ideally, your front heel will align with your back arch. If you find it too hard to balance this way you can align your heels with each other to give you a slightly wider stance.

    Bend your front knee at a 90° angle, so your thigh is parallel to the floor.

    Square your pelvis forward without torquing your knee. Keep as much forward direction in your pelvis as possible.

    Strengthen through your legs. Think about pressing your big toe little toe and heel evenly into the mat. Push back from your belly button through your hip. Allow the natural curve curvature of the lower back while keeping the tailbone in a neutral position.

    Rise up through the centerline of your body from the emptiness in your pelvic bowl. Pull the femur of your front leg in. Never let your knee jut forward. Let your energy sink down. Your back heel should remain on the ground. Root down.

    Hold your hands in front of you in prayer. Now rise up through the centerline of your body. Bring your hands straight up overhead with the palms continuing to press together. Now, look up at your thumbs.

    If it’s uncomfortable for your neck you can open your hands and look forward.

    To come out of the position lower your hands. Straighten your front leg. Step out of the position.

    Watch the video with Kino for more details about how to do Virabhadrasana A.

    By Omstars

  • Cultivating Strength in Warrior I

    Warrior I, otherwise known as Virabhadrasana A, is one of the most basic poses in the practice. It is also, however, deceptively simple. When performed correctly, Warrior I should cause the thighs to burn, the heart rate to accelerate, and the breath to become heavy. You should feel a sense of heat rising throughout the entire body as you cultivate both mental and physical strength. When practiced mindfully with proper alignment and adequate effort, the whole lesson of the journey of yoga can be found right there in Warrior I.

    In Indian mythology, Virabhadra is a spiritual warrior created from a lock of Shivas hair. Shiva sends Virabhadra down to Earth to act as a warrior of peace in the world. When Shiva releases this lock of hair, dropping our warrior down to Earth, Virabhadra lands, at the ready in Warrior I. This posture and the story behind it represents the brave heart of the Yogi. As you begin to practice, you gain access to the energy of Virabhadra, and as such, gain the spiritual strength to go out into the world as a force of healing energy and strength.

    To practice your strongest Warrior I, begin in mountain pose – Samasthiti. Hug the belly in toward the spine and begin to lift your energy up along the midline. Cultivate strength in your mountain pose and then step back with the left foot. You want about the distance of one of your own legs between your feet.

    Place the heel of your back foot down onto the mat so that the toes come out to a 45-degree angle. Check to be sure that the heel of your front foot is in line with the arch of your back foot, then press down with the back leg to seal the outside edge of the foot against the mat.

    Be sure to keep your pelvis in a neutral position, oriented forward toward the top of your mat. From here, pull the femur-head of your front leg into your hip socket as you bend the front knee. Be sure that you keep the belly hugging in toward the spine, and then reach the fingertips up toward the ceiling, palms touching. At the same time, lift your gaze. The whole body is strong. Every muscle is working. Hold here for several rounds of deep, continuous breath, then step back to Samasthiti. When you’re ready, mode to the other side.

    By Alex Wilson

    Note: The alignment cues and expertise offered in this blog post come straight from Kino’s breakdown of this pose on OMstars series, The Encyclopedia of Yoga.

    Check Out More Pose Breakdowns on OMstars

    Alex Wilson is a writer, yoga teacher, and the content manager at OMstars – The Yoga Network.