Warrior One is one of the most popular yoga poses. And for good reasons: it is accessible to most people and has many health benefits. Not only Warrior One really works the lower body but it strengthens and lengthens the entire musculature from the ankles, legs, hips, to the back, chest and arms.
Studies have shown that posture can induce changes in emotions and motivation. Warrior One typical wide stance, front facing posture helps the yogi cultivate physical steadiness and self-confidence.
On a more subtle level Warrior One stimulate the third chakra (Manipura chakra) which is associated with fire energy, the power of transformation and good health. Learning to channel our inner fire energy can be a skillful way to move forward in our spiritual journey and be strong.
Start Warrior One by paying attention to your feet, it's all about the feet!
Yoga Warrior poses come from martial arts stances which were designed to give the body greater edge in movement efficiency and strength for defense or attack. Every fighting stances has its specific body alignment, rhythm of movement and most importantly the positioning of legs and feet.
To help foot placement, draw an imaginary line, dividing your yoga mat lengthwise in two halves (you can use a chalk mark if needed).
1- From Downward Dog take a few full breaths. Inhale deeply and as you begin to exhale swing your right foot to the front of your mat. Land that foot just to the right side of the imaginary line (right side of the road).
Take the time to sense and feel your body weight settling down on this foot, from heel to toes (punctuate
this initial movement by saying "one" to yourself).
2- Place your left heel over the center line of the mat, toes forward at 45 degree angle. Bring your awareness to the entire sole of your back foot grounding itself. Sense the four corners of your foot, including the little toe and the inner arch (Keep your rhythm and count "two"). The length of your stance from front foot to back foot depends on your own body size, strength and flexibility, so make sure you are not copying anyone else.
Note that advanced practitioners often place the back foot first, with the mid arch of the back foot crossing the center line. For beginners, placing the heel on the center line will widen the stance for better balance and support.
3- On an inhale, start to come up into your full Warrior One stance (count "three"). Straighten the back leg and lunge forward horizontally. Focus on the hips facing forward, the front knee is in-line with the mid foot and over the front ankle.
Tip for centering hips: Place your hands on the two hard bones at the front of the hips (ilium). Your hips are like the front bumper of a car. Pull the right hip slightly back while moving the left hip forward. This counters the natural tendency of the hips opening to the left. To help keeping a low center of gravity in the hips, imagine you could push a heavy object in that position.
4- completing the pose by directing your inner fire energy up from navel center, bubbling up the chest, heart center, throat and finally shooting up through your arms extended skyward. You can look forward or straight up at your hands in prayer pose. Stay grounded and strong in the lower body and light in your arms.
Manage your energy: In order not to get tired too quickly in this fierce pose stay aware of how much energy you want to put into it. One way to cultivate endurance is to pulsate in your lunge, straighten your front leg to ease up tension, then bend it deeper to increase intensity. Keep your arms strong but free with childlike spontaneity. Hold your posture between steadiness (Stira) and ease and joy (Sukka).
Happy peaceful warrior strength!
Send me your warrior pic, just the way it is
on my Instagram: RAMAREMI