Warrior 1 Pose


Virabhadrasasa I

A pose of fire, bravery and virtue, Warrior one is a pose that is highly recognizable for the beginning Yogi to the advanced.  One of the first poses learned in yoga, it is a nice time for the practitioner to feel their grounding and set their intention for practice while building heat.


How To:  Warrior One

Start in a standing straddle pose on your mat.  Make the distance between your feet approximately the length of one of your legs.  Turn the right foot our 90 degrees, turn the left foot in 45-60 degrees.  Be cautious of grounding the outer edge of your left foot.  Slowly rotate your hips around toward the front of your mat until both hips are squared front.  Your hips bones will face forward as well as your shoulders.  

Bend the right knee until the right thigh is parallel to the ground and your front (right) knee is 90 degrees.  This position will ensure safety of the knee.  Plug both feet full into the ground.  As your lower body descends, feel your upper body lengthen and rise. Slowly extend your arms straight up and rotate the arms so your palms face each other.  Feel tall and lifted but be sure to relax your shoulders, getting them out of your ears.  Do not over arch the back.  Lower the tailbone toward the floor.  Feel every limb of your body elongate and expand.  

Make sure your right knee stays pointing straight ahead over your right foot.  Breathe normally and feel your inner Warrior.  Feel the removal of all your obstacles.


Benefits of Warrior One

The role of warrior I is vast.  Done properly and consistently, the most noticeable benefits include:

  • Increase flexibility in the hips and shoulders, while enhancing their stability
  • Tones abdominal organs
  • Teaches to face life full on with an open heart
  • Increase strength in legs, and back
  • Increase strength in your ankles
  • Relieves back pain and sciatica

For the lay person or yogi, warrior I teaches you to stay in the moment.  Focusing your eyes and breathe.  The pose teaches you to descend your lower body while lifting and getting a feeling of lightness through your upper body.  You will learn to expand your chest and increase your lung capacity.  It is the definition of dynamic opposition.

For the Athlete, this pose is a vigorous and challenging one.  Athletes are our modern day warriors.  In this pose they will greatly improve strength in their legs, ankles, feet, and shoulders.  At the same time they will improve the flexibility of those body parts.  Strength and flexibility equal power.  Therefore, warrior I will help athletes increase speed, agility, and quickness.  It will help the sportsmen build power in their spine and shoulders, which will leave them less vulnerable in aggressive game situations, like a football tackle or a forceful tennis serve.  Holding of this pose focuses the mind on expanding the ribs leaving greater lung capacity.  This will clearly benefit the athlete who suffers from exercise induced asthma, or a highly aerobic soccer player.

Although you should always consult your physician and research a properly trained teacher before starting a yoga practice, there are a few instances where you should avoid this pose entirely:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac conditions
  • History of stroke
  • Those with serious knee and low back pain

Have fun exploring this pose and learning about your body.


About the Author

Gwen Lawrence has been a practicing fitness professional since 1990. Her current practice includes private yoga training, class instruction and her sport-specific Power Yoga for Sports training program www.poweryogaforsports.com. Gwen’s unique combination of dance, massage and yoga training experience, coupled with her extensive knowledge of anatomy,and nutrition, provide her clients, and athletes with overwhelming benefits. Gwen is the yoga coach for several New York Yankees baseball players, team yoga instructor for the New York Giants, New York Knicks, New York Red Bulls, New York Rangers, several major college teams,including Yale and UNC, and  many youth teams in a variety of sports. She is also the official spokesperson for AFRIN PureSea, and ambassador for Lululemon, her writing appears in Men's Health, Women's Health, Fitness Magazine and shape.com.  She has made appearances on NBC TODAY show and many TV news and national radio shows. Gwen also owns her own Yoga School where she trains people to teach the power yoga for sports system.

Gwen lives in the New York tri state area with her Husband, and three teenage boys.