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Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Warrior 1 is an energising standing pose that will help you develop strength, flexibility, balance and focus and can be added to the Sun Salutation sequence. Br Dr Kiki Morriss
Sun Salutation 2022
From January to July this year, we studied the poses that make up the Sun Salutation. This month we look in depth at Warrior I pose, which can be added to the Sun Salutation sequence to create diversity within the flow. This energising standing pose will help you develop strength, flexibility, balance and focus.
Move through the Sun Salutation sequence and from Downward Dog step your right foot forwards into Warrior I. Hold the pose for five breaths, then return to Downward-Facing Dog, and continue with the Sun Salutation sequence. Repeat on the left side
Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I)
Vira = Hero Bhadra = Friend
Asana = Pose
Virabhadra = An incarnation of Shiva and a powerful warrior in Hindu mythology.
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- From Downward-Facing Dog, step your right foot forwards between your hands.
- Turn your left foot out 45º, pressing the edge of the foot firmly into the ground.
- Straighten your left leg.
- Bend your right knee to a right angle and align your knee directly above your ankle.
- Align your ankles with each other.
- Move your right hip back and your left hip forwards, so your pelvis and ribcage face forwards.
- Lift your arms and press your hands together in Prayer Pose.
- Gently arch back and lift your gaze.
HANDS, ARMS & SHOULDERS
- Use your deltoids to lift your arms in line with your ears.
- Straighten your elbows by contracting your triceps.
- Externally rotate your upper arms by engaging your infraspinatus and teres minor.
- Press your hands together in Prayer Pose.
- Soften your shoulders away from your ears by engaging your lower trapezius.
- Use your rhomboids to draw your shoulder blades towards the midline. This will broaden your chest.
HIPS & LEGS
- Engage your psoas and hip flexors to flex your front hip.
- Bend your front knee and align it directly above your front ankle.
- Use your sartorius and tensor fascia lata to keep your front knee aligned over your ankle and to prevent it from moving inward.
- Use the quadriceps of your front leg to stabilise the pose and to stop your front knee from over-bending. This will protect your knee tendons from overstretching.
- Align your pelvis and the front of your rib cage to face forwards, by moving your front hip slightly backwards and your back hip slightly forwards.
- Straighten your back leg by engaging your quadriceps.
- Use your erector spinae muscles to lift your back and arch it slightly.
- Support your lower back by gently engaging your abdominal muscles.
- Avoid overarching your lower back. Keep your tailbone tucked under.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Focus your gaze on your hands or your third eye. Looking at your third eye can initially be challenging, so try it for a moment and build it up gradually each time you practice. Alternatively, close your eyes and draw your focus inwards.
- Strengthens your legs, arms, core and back.
- Stretches and strengthens your hip flexors.
- Opens your shoulders and chest.
- Stretches the front of your body.
- Improves stamina.
- Develops focus, power and stability.
- Improves posture.
- If you have difficulty straightening your arms with your hands in Prayer Pose, try holding your arms shoulder-width apart.
- If you have a knee injury, try decreasing the bend in your front knee.
- If you have a neck injury, hold your chin parallel to the ground and gaze straight ahead.
- If your hips are inflexible, try moving your front foot to the side by about 5 centimetres to give more freedom of movement to your pelvis.
- Practice Warrior I with caution if you have a neck, knee, groin or back injury or issue.
- Avoid Warrior I if you have high blood pressure.
- Warrior I activates the Muladhara (Root) Chakra and the Svadhisthana (Sacral) Chakra.
- Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spine and when it is in balance, we feel grounded, strong, secure and able to stand on our own two feet.
- Svadisthana Chakra is associated with your reproductive system and when it is in balance, we feel creative, productive, positive and comfortable with change.