The Benefits of Warrior I Pose
Warrior I pose is one of the first poses you will encounter in yoga class, and it’s a great pose to continue to work on for years. This is because there are so many layers of awareness you can continue to discover in this iconic pose!
This yoga pose is often incorporated in hatha yoga classes, focusing on alignment to help you create a stable foundation in your body to support you in your life. While many of the poses in the asana practice of yoga are animal names, this pose stands out as something more symbolic, indicating the quality that the pose can foster in ourselves.
In a very real sense, this pose can give you the energetic strength of a warrior to make decisions from your heart connected to the greater good for all, just as the very definition of yoga reminds us that we are all connected.
Let’s dive into the details of this pose so you can master it.
Mastering the poses that some will pass off as “beginner poses” is something advanced practitioners do to help train their minds, where yoga’s real gifts start to show up.
What is Warrior I Pose Exactly?
Virabhadrasana I is the Sanskrit term for this pose, and it is more challenging than it looks! One may work for years on opening their hips and shoulders to do the full expression of the pose.
Eventually, this yoga pose creates incredible geometric shapes that allow you to feel as if you’re perfectly held in space, with both energy lifting you up and grounding you down. You’ll start to get a feel for this as you try it!
The Benefits of Warrior I Pose
Yoga poses are a way to train the body and improve its overall function. As we work towards being able to do a certain pose, we can observe our thoughts and see how we behave in life.
Being on the mat helps us see if we are trying to force things, being determined enough, or comparing ourselves to others. You can learn a lot about yourself when you do warrior I and become a more humble yogi in the process.
There are many benefits of warrior I you can look forward to. If you continue to practice the pose each day, you will start to notice them more and more:
- Builds strength in legs, arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- More flexible shoulders, hips, calves, and ankles.
- Reduces pain that can come from misalignment and poor posture.
- Improved circulation and respiration.
- Improved balance.
Warrior I also targets four of your chakras, which offer you quite an array of energetic benefits:
- Standing poses in yoga are great for increasing your feelings of stability, resourcefulness, and vitality because they engage the Root chakra.
- Standing poses such as warrior I also help your Sacral chakra, which offers you the ability to control your emotions without being overwhelmed by them. The Sacral chakra can help you be more creative and magnetic.
- Strengthening the core muscles with this pose will help activate the Solar Plexus chakra and stimulate your optimism and confidence.
- Standing poses will help open your Heart chakra by removing the closed-off posture that can come from subconsciously guarding your heart.
Using mula bandha root lock in the pose can also help you with other poses that require a sense of lift, such as arm balances and inversions.
You might also want to check out: The Beginner’s Guide to Hatha Yoga
Step-by-Step Instructions for Warrior I
Here is how to do warrior I position with simple steps you can follow to get yourself in and out of the pose. The benefits of the pose will be much greater if you use slow deep ujjayi nasal breathing.
Begin standing with your feet together at the front of your mat and place your hands on your hips.
Step back about 2 1/2 feet with your left foot, turning it to a 45-degree angle outwards. Root your back heel down and square your hips with the front of the mat.
Slightly bend the right knee. Make sure your knee doesn’t move past your ankle to protect the knee.
Raise your arms up straight in line with your ears with palms facing and shoulders down away from your ears. Pull your front ribs in as you point your tailbone down.
Take five slow and deep nasal breaths as you keep making little adjustments in the pose.
Step the left foot back to the front of the mat and repeat the same process stepping the right foot back.
You might also be interested in: The Benefits of Cow Face Yoga Pose
Modifications for Warrior I Pose
If you have a shoulder injury or pain lifting your arms, try doing the pose with your palms pressed together in prayer hands in front of your chest instead. If you find that your hips continue to open to the side, shorten your stance until your hips are even with the front of the mat.
If you find your knee hurting, double-check to make sure your front knee is not crossing your front ankle because that is not a safe way to do the pose!
How to Deepen Your Warrior I Pose
It’s always helpful and safer to warm up your muscles before stretching. Try doing five sun salutations before doing warrior I. You can also repeat the pose three times to allow yourself to work on the pose more rigorously.
Before doing the pose, do a runner’s lunge. This yoga pose helps open the hips and warm them up to get deeper into the pose. Reclined hand-to-big-toe pose or standing hand-to-big-toe pose are also great warm-ups to help you go deeper into the pose.
If you struggle with tight hips, adding more hip-stretching poses such as fire log pose and half-sleeping pigeon pose can help you reach the pose’s full expression. And if you have tight shoulders, give yourself time to stretch them in poses like puppy pose and dancer’s pose.
Will you try warrior I pose? You got this!
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