Virabhadra is a mythological character created by Lord Shiva, and this pose derives its name from there. The Virabhadrasana I is an asana honoring the feats of a legendary warrior. Hence, it is also called the Warrior 1 pose. This asana is considered to be one of the most graceful postures in yoga, and it adds a whole lot of beauty to the workout.
What You Should Know Before You Do This Asana
Yoga is best practiced early in the morning, but in case you are not an early riser, the next best time to practice yoga is in the evening.
It is essential that your stomach and your bowels are empty before you do the Virabhadrasana I. Ensure a gap of four to six hours between your meals and practice so that the food is completely digested and you are energetic for the workout.
How to do Warrior Pose (Veerabhadrasana)
Veerabhadrasana or Virabhadrasana is one of the most graceful yoga postures and it adds beauty and grace to one’s yoga practice.
- Stand straight with your legs wide apart by a distance of
at least 3-4 feet.
- Turn your right foot out by 90 degrees and left foot in by
about 15 degrees.
- Checkpoint: Is the heel of the right foot aligned to the
center of the left foot?
- Lift both arms sideways to shoulder height with your
palms facing upwards.
- Checkpoint: Are your arms parallel to the ground?
- Breathing out, bend your right knee.
- Checkpoint: Are your right knee and right ankle forming
a straight line? Ensure that your knee does not overshoot the ankle.
- Turn your head and look to your right.
- As you settle down in the yoga posture stretch your arms further.
- Make a gentle effort to push your pelvis down. Hold the yoga posture with the determination of a warrior. Smile like a happy smiling warrior. Keep breathing as you go down.
- Breathing in, come up.
- Breathing out, bring your hands down from the sides.
- Repeat the yoga posture for the left side (turn your left foot out by 90 degrees and turn the right foot in by about 15 degrees).
1. Stand erect and spread your legs about three to four feet apart. Your right foot should be in the front and the left foot behind.
2. Now, turn your right foot outwards by 90 degrees and the left by 15 degrees, making sure the heel of the right foot is perfectly aligned with the center of the left foot.
3. Lift your arms sideways until they reach the height of your shoulders. Your arms must be parallel to the ground, and your palms should be facing upwards.
3. Exhale and bend your right knee, such that your knee and ankle form a straight line. Make sure that your knee does not go ahead of your ankle.
4. Now turn your gaze to your right.
5. As you move into the pose, stretch your arms further and join your palms above your head. Look at your palms. Gently push your pelvis down.
6. Hold the pose with the same determination as a warrior, and wear a smile on your face. Breathe normally and keep going down.
7. Inhale and come up.
8. Exhale and gently bring your hands down from the sides.
9. Repeat this pose on the left side, with your left leg in the front and the right one at the back.
Precautions And Contraindications
It is important to consult a doctor before you practice this asana, especially if you have spinal problems or have just recovered from a chronic illness.
If you have shoulder pains, raise your arms and leave them parallel to each other instead of holding them above your head.
If you have neck problems, you should not look up at your hands after you stretch them.
Pregnant women will benefit from this asana, especially if they are in their second and third trimester, but only if they have been practicing yoga regularly. This must be done under the guidance of their trainer and with a doctor’s permission.
If you suffer from knee pain or have arthritis, you can use the support of a wall to do this asana.
People suffering from heart problems or high blood pressure should avoid this asana.
Usually, when the front knee is bent into the pose, beginners tend to tip their pelvis forward. This duck-tails the coccyx and causes the lower back to compress itself. Before you bend your knee, lift your pubis towards the navel. Then, lengthen the tail to the floor. When you bend your knee, go on lifting and descending these two bones, ensuring that the top rim of the pelvis is as parallel as it can be to the floor.
Advanced Pose Alterations
If you feel you cannot hold your balance in this asana, create a stable base by placing the front foot a few inches out from the midlife of your body.
Back Foot Lifting
It might help if you place a block below your heel to press down or press your heel against a wall. This will help you stabilize.
Strained Back Knee
If your back knee feels tense, involve the muscles in your thighs such that they lift the kneecap, while the back leg is absolutely straight.
Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from lower back problems, gently bend forward from the hip such that your torso is diagonally lengthened, and your abdomen forms support.
This pose can also be performed with the arms in different positions. You could either clasp it behind your torso or hold it at your hips, apart from holding it at the shoulder level or holding it above your head.
Benefits Of Virabhadrasana I
These are some amazing Virabhadrasana 1 benefits:
1. This asana is known to strengthen and tone the lower back, the arms, and the legs.
2. It helps to stabilize and balance the body as it increases the stamina.
3. It is also a great asana for those with desk or sedentary jobs. It stimulates the metabolism as well as restores the spine.
4. This asana helps ease out frozen shoulders.
5. It also helps release stress from the shoulders almost immediately.
6. This asana relaxes the mind and the body, spreading the notion of peace, courage, grace, and a sense of auspiciousness.
The Science Behind The Warrior Pose I
This asana is an extremely vigorous standing exercise that requires you to focus. It is a challenging asana that entails a whole lot of multitasking. The many actions you take on as you get into this position pull you in opposite directions. You lift up while grounding yourself, and you press forward while you reach backward.
Though this asana is a battle in itself, mastering it is rewarding. All the muscles in your legs, core, and arms are strengthened and toned. Your chest is expanded, your lungs are opened up, and you feel a sense of vigor.
Since there are so many different actions as you take on the pose, it is advisable to focus on any one of them each time you practice this asana.
Practicing the Warrior I asana will show you your strengths and weaknesses. It will allow you to accept the obstacles your body presents, and with time, you will become stable, aware, and gain enough skill to move deeper into this powerful pose.
The Mythology Behind Virabhadrasana I
The story goes like this. There was a king called Daksha who didn’t invite his daughter Sati and her husband Shiva to a yagna (sacrifice ritual). She couldn’t deal with the humiliation and insult, so she barged into the venue, walked into the fire, and burned in it. When her husband arrived at the venue and found his beloved wife dead, he was saddened and enraged. He plucked out a strand of his hair and beat it to the ground, from which rose a powerful warrior. He named this warrior Virabhadra or hero-friend, and sent him to destroy Daksha and all his guests present at the yagna.
The Virabhadrasana I is the first aspect of Virabhadra’s arrival, as he thrusts his way up from below the earth.
Virabhadra’s Pose is also known as the Warrior Pose (there are three variation of Warrior, of which this is customarily numbered I). It may seem strange to name a yoga pose after a warrior; after all, aren’t yogis known for their non-violent ways? But remember that one of the most revered of all the yoga texts, the Bhagavad-Gita, is the dialog between two famous and feared warriors, Krishna and Arjuna, set on a battlefield between two great armies spoiling for a fight.
What’s really being commemorated in this pose’s name, and held up as an ideal for all practitioners, is the “spiritual warrior,” who bravely does battle with the universal enemy, self-ignorance (avidya), the ultimate source of all our suffering.
Warrior I Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions
Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). With an exhale, step or lightly jump your feet 31/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor (and parallel to each other), and reach actively through the little-finger sides of the hands toward the ceiling. Firm your scapulas against your back and draw them down toward the coccyx.ADVERTISEMENT
Turn your left foot in 45 to 60 degrees to the right and your right foot out 90 degrees to the right. Align the right heel with the left heel. Exhale and rotate your torso to the right, squaring the front of your pelvis as much as possible with the front edge of your mat. As the left hip point turns forward, press the head of the left femur back to ground the heel. Lengthen your coccyx toward the floor, and arch your upper torso back slightly.
With your left heel firmly anchored to the floor, exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle so the shin is perpendicular to the floor. More flexible students should align their right thigh parallel to the floor.
Reach strongly through your arms, lifting the ribcage away from the
pelvis. As you ground down through the back foot, feel a lift that runs
up the back leg, across the belly and chest, and up into the arms. If
possible, bring the palms together. Spread the palms against each other
and reach a little higher through the pinky-sides of the hands.
Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward, or tilt it back and look up at your thumbs.