Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana)
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart.
Step forward with your right foot, about 3 ft if you are taller and a little less if shorter. Your right knee should be directly above your ankle and your thigh should be parallel to the ground.
Place your hands on your hips, keeping your hips in line with your upper body and facing forward.
Keep your back leg straight.
As you inhale, raise your arms straight out to the sides and over your head so your palms lightly touch. Gaze at your palms as you bend your right knee gently.
You should feel the stretch in the back of your left calf, similar to a runner's stretch. Allow your shoulder blades to relax down your back.
As you exhale, straighten your right leg and bring your arms back by your sides.
Repeat three times and hold the stretch (don't strain) for 6 or 8 breaths.
Stand up straight and repeat with your left leg forward.
- Strengthens muscles in the legs, back, shoulders and arms.
- Improves balance.
- Stretches the calf, thigh and shoulder muscles.
- Opens the hips and the chest to drain toxins and promote good posture and easy breathing.
- Creates a feeling of well-being in the mind and body.
- Increases energy and stamina.
History of the Pose
The Warrior pose is a reference to the fierce warrior, named Virabhadra, who was an incarnation of Shiva. One day Daksha, the chief of the Hindu gods, held a horse sacrifice but did not invite his youngest daughter Sati's husband, Shiva. Sati was so embarrassed that she released an inward consuming fire and died at his feet. Shiva was told of this and was enraged, so he took a lock of his hair and created Virabhadra, who destroyed the sacrificial party and all those in it. Shiva later restored the damage and the lives lost but Virabhadra is still worshipped by many in South India today.
Breathing during Postures
While practicing postures, maintain awareness of your breathing. Let the air flow naturally in and out but coordinate the exercises based on your breathing as indicated in the instructions. While inhaling, imagine you are breathing in positive qualities, such as joy and peace. As you exhale, imagine any laziness, restlessness or indifference leaving your body with your breath. This breathing will increase your spirit and contribute to the effectiveness and power of the exercise. Start each pose by being conscious of your breathing in this way.