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Pose of the week: Warrior I - Virabhadrasana I

By Ashley Michelle

Warrior I Pose– Virabhadrasana I (Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior)

Warrior poses are here to help us feel strong like a warrior.

The entire body is working and strengthening in this Asana.

Make sure that you have done some warm up stretching and the hips are open before attempting this peak pose.

While in a class, or if you want to try this pose at home, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Begin standing in Mountain Pose. (Tadasana)

  • Take a giant step back with the left foot and bring the heels into alignment with each other. Turn the left foot and toes out towards the left, to about a 45-degree angle. (If you find that you need a bit more space you can walk the feet a bit wider apart.)

  • Bring your hands to rest at your hip area. Think about the idea of turning both hip points, belly and heart front and forward.

  • Point the right foot and toes forward as the right knee starts to bend. You can work towards stacking the right knee directly over the right ankle. Be mindful not to let the right knee come past or go over the right ankle. (Adjust your stance as needed – move around until you find a spot that feels good to breath in.)

  • Press firmly into both feet and hug both legs in towards the midline. Watch that right knee, sometimes it likes to fall out towards the right side of the mat. Have a peak down occasionally, to see where your body is.

  • Once you feel grounded and stable from the ground up, find a deep inhale to rise and reach the arms up over head.

  • Palms face one another, fingertips spread nice and wide.

  • Shoulder blades draw down the back body and away from the ears.

  • Hug the belly in and upwards, thinking about drawing the tail bone down towards the earth.

  • Open the heart, shining up and forward. Smile.

  • You may notice the lower back body start to bend slightly when you focus on shinning your heart up towards the sky.

  • If you want to see what a deeper back bend may feel like, you can press the hands together (Namaste – over your head) and begin to slowly bring your eye gaze up towards the hands.

  • *Be mindful of any type of back bend. Explore It slowly and with kindness.*

  • Hold the shape but not the breath for as long as you want to try it. Give yourself space and time to come out of the pose with integrity. Float the arms back down with an exhale. Pivot on the back-left foot so the left toes face forward and you’re on the ball of that left foot.

  • Rock the back foot up to meet the front. Take three full matched breaths and repeat on the opposite side.

Jen Vince demonstrates Warrior I

Possible Physical Benefits

  • Strengthens arches of feet, ankles, knees and thighs

  • Stretches the hips and shoulders

  • Expands the chest and lungs

  • Develops stamina

  • Stimulates digestion and circulation

Possible Mental Benefits

  • Great for focus

  • Develops a sense of willpower

  • Stimulates the mind

Last week: Tree Pose - Vriksasana

Next week: Warrior II - Virabhadrasana II

*Photos taken at The Spiritual Spa

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