Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Warrior I Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


Once you learn the basics of Warrior I Pose, then any of the other standing poses become easier. Its full Sanskrit name is Virabhadrasana I. This pose is the first in a series of three total Warrior Pose variations.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Virabhadrasana I

(Pronounced as "VEER-ah bud-RAHS-anna")

Virabhadra was the name of the powerful warrior in the Hindu epics created by Shiva to lead his army into battle. Virabhadra symbolized the negative effects of karma that always come back to a person eventually. While practicing this posture, the yogi is summoning all their inner strength to conquer their inner demons and purify the mind.

How to do Warrior I Pose

Step One

Stand up tall on your yoga mat in Tadasana, also known as Mountain Pose. Bring your hands up in front of your chest, bend your knees and inhale. On your exhalation, sweep your arms out to the sides and jump your feet out to the sides as far apart as you can. Adjust your feet so that the heels are in line with each other. Stretch your arms straight and hold the arms up at the same height as your shoulders.

Step Two

Raise both of your arms until they are perpendicular to the ground, holding them next to your ears with your fingertips pointing up. Pull your shoulder blades up and tuck them into your back to make sure you fully extend and lift your chest. Make sure to keep your arms straight for the rest of this posture.

Step Three

On an exhalation, rotate your torso and right leg toward the right side. Your right foot should turn out 90 degrees to the right. Turn your left foot about 45 degrees to the right. Pull your pelvis up as you lengthen your back up through your torso and your arms. Press your left heel firmly into the floor.

Step Four

Bend the right knee until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Make sure that your right knee is exactly above your right ankle. Keep your left leg straight and push back as you extend it behind you, maintaining contact between your left heel and the floor. Do not keep all of your body weight on your right knee; rather, distribute your weight equally between your right and left foot as you continue stretching up through your arms. If you have enough flexibility in your shoulders, then stretch your arms a little further back and up to press your palms together. Tilt your head back and gaze up at your thumbs.

Step Five

Hold the final posture for about 20 seconds in the beginning. As you become more comfortable with the pose, you can hold it for up to a minute with steady breathing. To come out of the pose, push more weight back on to your left leg as you straighten your right leg and slowly lower your arms. Repeat this posture on the other side, holding it for the same amount of time.

Beginner's Tip:

In order to get the proper positioning of the legs, it is helpful to first turn the back leg completely to the side also so that your torso fully faces the right side. Then bend the front knee down until it forms a 90 degree angle with the floor and push your bent left leg back from the top of the hip joint as you balance on your right foot and the balls of your left foot.

Once you have fully bent the right leg to 90 degrees, lengthen your tailbone down to the floor and then finally rotate the left leg back to place the left heel back down onto the floor, keeping the left leg straight.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Virabhadrasana I

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Elevated blood pressure
  2. Heart conditions
  3. For pregnancy: Women can practice this posture during the first trimester. After that, they should seek the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.
  4. If you have shoulder injuries, then you can keep your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder height rather than raising them up above your head.
  5. If you have neck injuries, then keep your head in a neutral position and do not look up.

Modifications and Props:

When first learning this posture, it can be difficult to keep the back heel firmly anchored on the ground. You can practice anchoring the back heel by performing this posture with your back heel against a wall so that you can push into the wall with your heel. The pressure of your heel on the wall will help you to slowly slide the heel down until it maintains solid contact with the ground.

Therapeutic Applications:

  • Sciatica
  • Recovering from old knee injuries

Benefits:

  • Helps people to recover from lumbago, sciatica and most types of general back pain
  • Builds strength in the back and abdomen
  • Boosts digestion
  • Improves the health of the reproductive organs
  • Stretches out tension in the chest, shoulders, neck and thighs

Variations:

You can perform this asana with your hands in several different positions. For example, you can get a deeper stretch for your wrists and elbows by doing the Namaskar mudra of pressing your palms together behind your back, which also further opens the chest.

Partnering:

Ask a partner to stand behind you. When you come into the final pose, ask them to place one hand in between your shoulder blades. With the other hand, they should pull your arms back from your elbows, one at a time. By their pushing your shoulder blades in more and pulling the arms back from the elbows, you will get a full opening of the shoulders that will help the rest of the torso come into better alignment over your hips.

Next Pose:

Warrior II Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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