November Yoga Pose of the Month- Warrior I
Pose of the Month: Warrior I — Virabhadrasana I (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh)
Warrior I is a standing yoga pose that honours the “spiritual warrior” in all of us. The warrior that faces the daily challenges of self doubt, fear and ignorance and yet courageously battles on through the journey to become their highest self. The warrior poses are named after the powerful warrior. In Hindu mythology, Virabhadra, is said to have been created by Lord Shiva’s rage and grief after the death of his love Sati, and has come to represent the destruction of ignorance and ego. Using the spirit of Virabhadra we can explore and discover our own courage and determination to all of life’s challenges.
How to get into Warrior I:
Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with feet hip-distance apart and arms stretched up towards the sky with palms facing one another.
Step your left foot to the back of the mat, at about a 45 degree angle. Keep your hips squared to the front of the mat.
Bend your right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor and the knee is directly over the ankle or just behind it. Never let the knee pass out in front of your ankle!
Extend from the waist all the way up and into your fingers, lengthening through the sides of the body.
Bring your gaze up to the hands and lift your heart up to the heavens.
Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. Feel your shoulder blades pressing towards one another.
Press down through the outer edge of your back foot and keep that back leg straight, while pushing down through all four corners of the front foot.
Hold for 5-10 breaths.
To release, exhale and lower the hands down by your sides.
Modifications & Variations
If it’s difficult to keep your back heel flat on the floor, or you feel pain in the back leg, you can place a rolled up blanket under that heel for support.
If your thighs are tight, or you feel shaky, heel-toe the front foot to the outer edge of your mat to widen your stance as much as needed to keep the hips square to front of the mat.
If there is lower back pain, shorten the distance between the feet until the pose feels more comfortable.
If your shoulders are tight, take the arms out wide when they are raised.
Keep your hands on your hips if you have a shoulder injury.
Keep gaze directly out in front of you if there are any neck injuries.