VĪRABHADRĀSANA 1 (WARRIOR 1 POSE)
- Stand straight with your feet together, in tāḍāsana
- Step your right foot back about 4 feet
- Turn your foot out 45 degree to the side
- Bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle
- Square your hips and torso to the front
- Raise your arms up over your head and join the palms together
- Stay for 5 breaths
Vīrabhadrāsana, also known warrior 1, is the first pose of the warrior sequence. It is a strengthening standing pose and can be seen as a preparatory backbend. It is one of the standing postures where the pelvis is brought perpendicular to the front of the mat.
Start by standing straight with the feet together, in tāḍāsana. Then step your right foot back around 4 feet. Place the foot flat on the floor at a 45 degree angle. Your left foot will be facing to the front. Ensure that the heels are aligned with eachother, and then bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle, keeping the knee over the ankle. Keep the right leg straight by engaging the thigh, lifting the knee cap up, and pressing into the outer edge of the foot. Square your hips to the front; take the left hip bone back and the right hip bone forward until they are perpendicular to the front of the mat. The chest should follow in the same alignment. Tuck your tailbone under and keep the belly in. Lift the chest up and lengthen the torso away from the pelvis. Raise your arms up over your head, keeping the shoulders away from the ears, and join the palms together. Ensure that your arms are fully reaching up, keeping the elbows straight. If the elbows bend then keep your arms apart instead. Keep your chest open and look up toward the ceiling. It is recommended to stay here for at least five deep breaths. Then repeat the same on the other side.
There are several variations to this posture. You can keep the arms separate and parallel over the head, or you can interlock your fingers behind your back and reach away with your arms. Another options is to stretch the arms out to the side, parallel to the floor. If you suffer from neck pain, you can look forward rather than looking up.
One of the benefits of this posture is that it is strengthening the legs. In particular the thighs, the knees and the ankles, as the back leg is fully engaged during the post. It also strengthens the arms and upper back, as it requires a great amount of effort to keep lifting the arms up over the head. It opens the chest, stretches the abdomen and stretches the groin. It helps in building internal strength and energy.
The contraindications for this pose are knee injuries, hip injuries and neck injuries. If you have high blood pressure then avoid looking up and keep the arms at shoulder level.
- Strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles
- Strengthens the upper back, shoulder and arms
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and groin
- Energies and builds emotional strength
- High blood pressure / Knee, hip or neck injuries
- Tones the quadriceps femoris
- Tones the biceps
- Tones trapezius muscle
- Stretches the abdominal muscles
- Stretches the pectoral muscle