The Warrior One yoga position, also known as Virabhadrasana, is an excellent strengthener for the legs and a good exercise in balance.
About Warrior One Yoga Position
Warrior I is a great pose for balance and gaining overall strength. While the pose mainly targets leg muscles, the stomach and back muscles should also be engaged if the pose is done correctly.
Warrior I is often introduced after Warrior II in yoga classes because it can be a deceptively difficult pose. While it may look simple enough, finding the right distance between your two feet, and balancing in this pose, can be challenging. The key to getting it right is to work into it slowly and gently, and when you reach the moment of looking up at your hands, gradually look upwards in order to maintain your footing.
Step into the Pose
To perform Warrior One Pose
- Start in Mountain Pose, and step your left foot out to the side, wide, but not too wide (adjust as necessary). Turn your right foot out at a 90-degree angle.
- Turn your torso to point in the same direction as your right foot. Align your hips directly under your shoulders.
- Turn your left foot to an angle that is neither parallel, nor perpendicular to the angle of your right foot (45 degrees is ideal).
- Slowly bend your right knee into a lunge, being careful not to overextend. Your knee should never extend farther forward than your toes. The deeper the lunge, the better, but for beginners, a shallower lunge is a manageable place to start.
- Raise your arms over your head. Some yogis leave hands above shoulders, with palms facing each other, while others bring the palms together, or clasp the hands.
- When balanced, tip your head back to look up at your hands. As you hold the position, be aware of keeping your neck supple, your shoulders down, and your pelvis pointing towards the floor. Pull in your navel in order to reduce back strain. Breathe deeply and evenly, opening your chest as you hold the position.
- Come out of the pose slowly, in the opposite order in which you entered it.
The other two parts of the Warrior asana, Warrior II and Warrior III, round out Warrior I. Those with lower back problems should seek the assistance of a yoga instructor in order to properly execute this pose.