#FundamentalsFriday: Warrior One

Posted on May 15, 2020

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Now that we’ve got our Sun Salutation A, lets move onto Surya Namaskar (Sun Sal) B!

TODAY’S SHAPE: WARRIOR 1 (VIRABHADRASANA 1)

One of the most fundamental standing postures in yoga is Warrior 1, and it’s a lot more complex than most people realize. Traditional Surya Namaskar B is chair pose into your vinyasa, with a step forward (and on an inhale), lifting into Warrior 1 before you flow through your Chaturanga and back to Downward Facing Dog. Memorizing the alignment in your body allows this seamless transition to align with your breath. Square hips and open hearts here we come!

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  1. Let’s start from the ground up: feet! Because we are going for square hips, theres a bit of separation for your feet – left foot towards the left, right foot to the right, not quite hip width apart (*note: some people will tell you heel-to-heel alignment, but if you have tight hips like me this will prevent you from being able to square forward…play with this a bit and find what feels good for your body). Front foot is facing directly forward, while your back foot is at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Speaking of hips, the most challenging part of this shape is shifting the angle of your pelvis towards the front of your mat. For most of us, the inclination will be to open the back hip towards the side of the mat. Instead, pull your front hip back and use the strength of your back leg to press that hip forward.
  3. Your back leg holds the power here. To continually press that hip forward, ground down through the outer edge of your back foot all the way through your pinky toe so your inner arch begins to lift. Additionally, the more you lift your knee, the more your quads engage. Your back leg is the initiation of your “warrior”…fire it up!
  4. Now that your back leg is activated, check in with that front knee. Because of the pelvic alignment, your thigh *probably* wont quite go parallel to the mat. However, the goal is knee over ankle and squeezing your glute so the knee opens out instead of falling in. While the back hip presses forward, front hip continually pulls back.
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  5. Foundation is everything. Once your legs are set, spread your arms and press your palms together in front of your chest. Rolling your shoulders down your back, imagine that there is a string attaching your sternum to your palms. As you lift your arms in an arch towards the sky, your chest follows. Keep the string attachment!
  6. As a Warrior, you rise tall and proud. Your chest is lifted, your abs are engaged in and up, your legs are firm. If palms together is too much for your shoulders, separate your arms but keep them strong and engaged, reaching up as your shoulders continue down your back. Ribs separate from your hips, but zip up the front of your ribs to maintain the strength no matter your level of flexibility.

Questions? Comments? Let’s chat!