Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

There are 3 Warrior poses in yoga, and this one is the first of the sequence.

Warrior 1 (one) is a grounding and stabilizing posture that provides a foundation for many other postures. It stretches the calves, hips, and chest. It also strengthens the lower body, stabilizes the core, and works to even out imbalances within the hips/pelvic girdle.

Many people associate the idea of warriors with violence, but in yoga, the posture reflects the idea of a peaceful warrior.

Historical texts in yoga, such as The Bhagavad Gita, detail battles where warriors, such as the Prince Arjuna, must deal with moral and existential dilemmas during battle. Warrior poses can remind us to fight the good fight- for our values and dreams that we believe in.

How to Do Warrior 1 Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

From Mountain Pose, step your left foot back and bend your right knee as if you were doing a High Lunge. Keep the front knee stacked over the ankle.

Step 2

Now, instead of keeping the heel lifted, drop the heel down by pointing the toes to a 45 degree angle. Press through the outer edge of the back foot.

Make sure that your heels are both on the same imaginary line. This is important because it will help the hips remain square to the front of your mat. Press the left hip forward as you draw the right hip back.

Step 3

Once your foundation is set, reach your arms up to the sky with the hands above the shoulders. Keep the chest open and shoulders down. The neck is long. Take 5 deep breaths here.

Tip: For more of a challenge, try to touch the the palms of the hands together in a prayer position overhead.

Warrior 1 Pose Benefits

  • Stretches the calves, groin, hips, abdomen, chest, and shoulders
  • Strengthens the quadriceps, back muscles, and shoulders
  • Energizing for the body
  • Focuses the mind
  • Improves balances
  • Increases lung capacity