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Warrior 1 feature

Introduction

Sanskrit Name

Virabhadrasana I

Chakra Activated

  • Root Chakra (Muladhara)
  • Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana)
  • Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura)

Benefits

  • Strengthens the legs and stretches the thighs and calves
  • Strengthens the core, upper back and shoulders
  • Stretches the neck, shoulders, chest and arms

Therapeutic Benefits

  • Osteoporosis
  • Sciatica

Contraindications

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart or shoulder issues – keep your arms parallel instead
  • Neck issues – keep your head in a neutral position instead of looking up at the hands

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1:

Start in Mountain pose (Tadasana), then step your left foot back, toes pointing diagonally to the left. Traditionally you would align heel to heel, but if this is too difficult, you can keep your feet hip distance apart. Adjust yourself until you feel stable and grounded

Step 2:

Start to align your hips, bringing your right hip back and left hip forward ie. “squaring the hip”. Then bend your right knee, keeping the right thigh parallel to the floor and the weight on the front heel and big toes.

Step 3:

Press your back heel down , keeping the back leg engaged and the outer edge of the foot glued to the ground. At this point, you may notice that your hips start to turn towards the left. Try to square them out again.

If this is difficult for you, then it’s OKAY to let the hips face slightly to the left. But you may be more comfortable simply keeping the left heel off the floor. Try not to force yourself to square the hips as this can be harsh on your knees.

Step 4:

Draw your lower belly in and lengthen your spine. Inhale to lift your arms over your head, opening the chest and stretching the upper back. If your neck feels okay, you can look up towards your hands. Try to keep your ribs in and down as you lift your gaze up.

Stay in the pose for 5-15 breaths, drawing strength from your legs and belly.

To exit the pose, exhale and bring your hands down to your hips. Inhale to straighten both legs and step your back foot forward back to Tadasana.

Repeat the other side.

Watch a video demonstration of Warrior I Pose

Modifications & Beginners Tips

Keep your feet hip distance apart in order to keep your hips facing forward. If this is still too uncomfortable, then lift your back heel up for High lunge pose instead or place a block behind the back heel for more support.

When the front knee bends, try to pull the tailbone towards the floor instead of tilting the pelvis forward to prevent compression of the lower spine. Then lift your mula bandha to strengthen your abdominal muscles.

Variations

You can experiment with different arm positions for Warrior 1. The more popular positions are in prayer (Anjali Mudra) or clasping your hands behind the back to open up the chest

Humble warrior pose is another of my favourite variation. Come into it by keeping your hands clasped behind you, then bring your upper body down to the inside of the bent leg and try to draw your head to the ground.

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Warrior 1 Yoga Pose
Warrior 1 Yoga Pose

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