By Sangeetha Saran
Of all the asanas one learns in a class, or a Yoga certification course, the warrior poses may be the most well known. Similar postures are practiced in martial arts classes for enhancing strength, coordination, power and holistic health.
The Yoga pose, Warrior I, is the first of three warrior poses. The Sanskrit name for the warrior poses, Virabhadrasana, is derived from the warrior that Shiva created, named “Vira” meaning hero and “bhadra” meaning friend.
The intention of warrior poses is to do battle against that which limits our psychological and spiritual growth as we honor the higher self, symbolized in Shiva. Yoga instructors teach the strong stance of Warrior I to stand against the ego and to support the energies of the heart on the journey to enlightenment.
Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I
The benefits of the Warrior I pose are that it strengthens legs and opens the chest and shoulders. It improves concentration and focus with a static sense of motion. The legs are rooted into the earth and the hands reach to the sky, uniting the Yoga practitioner to earth, nirvana, and the elimination of suffering.
How to Assume Warrior I Yoga Pose:
With the legs in a wide stance, bend the right front knee so the thigh is almost parallel to the floor. The front foot points straight ahead, at 12 o’clock. The back leg is straightened, with the foot at a 45 degree angle, approximately 10 or 11 o’clock.
Imagine the hip bones equally forward on either side of the bent knee, with hips squared to the front. This generally requires pulling the hip which is over the bent knee back, and the hip of the straight leg forward.
Extend the arms fully up, while sliding the shoulder blades down the back. Imagine that your neck is long and graceful, with the shoulders drawn away from it.
There are variations one might engage with the hands and arms. The hands may be extended straight up, reaching to the sky, or they may be clasped. Prayer pose with the hands in front of the heart, elbows extended and parallel with the floor, takes tension off the shoulders. Or hands may be clasped behind the back as an added chest opener, bringing the shoulders down.
Repeat the pose on the opposite legs.
Brief History of Yoga Asanas and Virabhadrasana I
Yoga training is believed to have first been practice by the ancient Sadhus, authors of the Holy Scripture, the Vedanta. Asanas were developed to relieve the back pain that the scribes experienced from many hours of writing.
It is no different today, with our many hours at the computer. You will improve all in aspects of your daily life; your heart, your mind and your body with a strong Warrior I pose.
© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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