Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I via flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/myyogaonline/457339606/) Pronunciation: veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna
Pose Type: Standing Pose

The meaning of Warrior I, or Virabhadrasana, is fierce warrior. The pose is an incarnation of Shiva, the Hindu god said to have a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet. Shiva wields a thousand clubs and wears a tiger’s skin, so this is not a yoga pose for the timid and if you happen to be feeling timid today, this pose can make a big difference in your day.

Warrior I is often a part of the Sun Salutation series of poses and other sequences. It is one of the most graceful and powerful yoga postures, adding beauty and grace to the yoga practice while building heat and strength for the practitioner.

Pose Sequence

You can come into this pose from several positions, such as rising up from Downward Dog and stepping back from Mountain pose. We’ll start from standing Mountain pose:

  1. Standing in Tadasana at the top of your mat, lightly step one foot back behind you about 3-4 feet. The forward leg will bend at a 90-degree angle (or as close as possible) and the pelvis will settle toward the floor.
  2. Turn the back foot 45-60 degrees outward and position the front foot right in alignment with the instep of the back foot.
  3. Exhale and rotate your torso to the front while raising your arms over your head toward the sky, turning the palms to face each other. Keep the hands and arms active and engaged in this pose.
  4. Square your pelvis as much as possible with the front edge of your mat.
  5. Lengthen the back, reaching for the sky strongly through the arms and lifting the rib cage away from the pelvis.

Releasing from the pose is also done several ways, depending on the sequence. You may straighten the forward knee while bring the back foot forward to arrive back in Mountain pose. You may lower the hands and torso down to the mat and lift the front foot back into plank pose.

Benefits of Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana)

The benefits of this practicing Warrior I in your yoga practice include:

  • Strengthening and toning the arms, back and legs
  • Improving the body’s ability to balance and increasing stamina
  • Releasing the stress held in shoulders
  • Opens the front chest and torso

Warrior I is ideal for those with sedentary, or desk-bound, jobs where they are seated for long periods of time. It helps yogis experiencing cases of frozen shoulders and brings courage, grace and peace to the yogi who practices it.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of AudibleYoga.com and writer/content manager.