Warrior Pose Sequence, Variations, Benefits
The ancestry of Yoga asana dates back to over 5000 years. If you are seeking to decipher new levels of body and mind awareness, practicing yoga is the best point of inception. The yoga warrior pose or Virabhadrasana signifies the internal strength and perseverance of an individual.
Yoga provides both physiological and psychological strength to the body. It increases agility, flexibility, rectifies posture and spikes up the energy levels in the body (1).
Read more about different warrior poses and their benefits in this post.
Note: This article is fact-checked by Nimish Deshpande Certified Yoga Professional
When various poses of yoga are combined with meditation and pranayama, it promotes overall wellness of the body along with a sense of spiritual upliftment. The meaning of yoga is the unification of our mind and body with the source of our entity. It helps to bind our soul, body, and mind together.
If you are a beginner in yoga practices read Yoga For Beginners: Best Yoga Poses, Tips & Techniques.
What is the Yoga Warrior Pose?
The warrior yoga pose is one of the best standing asanas to start with. It is considered to be a cornerstone pose as it is a pose in the Sun Salutation series.
The warrior yoga pose has three modifications and requires a perfect combination of balance, mental calmness, and physical strength. The first warrior yoga pose works as a cardiac opening posture with stretching of extremities, chest, shoulder, and torso.
With slight modification, the second warrior yoga pose exerts pressure on the groin region along with thighs and the gluteus muscles. It is also known as a deep hip-opening posture.
The most advanced and challenging posture is the warrior yoga pose 3. This last sequence focuses on the intermediate level balancing of the body. It carves mental and physical toughness accompanied by balance, attention, determination, and coordination.
In addition to these three, there are two other poses namely, the humble warrior pose and the reverse warrior pose. We will discuss all these variations of warrior pose in this post.
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Advanced (based on variation)
Key Benefits: Good stretch for thighs, arms. Increases stamina.
The origin of the warrior yoga pose can be traced back to the Hindu mythological beliefs. India, where the genesis of yoga asanas took place, also has a rich history of great yogis and fearful warriors. The warrior pose is known as Virabhadrasana in Sanskrit literature.
When we decode the name, it implies a heroic posture. The variations of the posture motivate an individual to personify the spirit of a strong and brave warrior. The postures of the warrior yoga asana hold great spiritual significance. The asana derives its name from a mythological Hindu warrior named Virabhadra.
Virabhadra was known to be the incarnation of the god of destruction – Lord Shiva. The folklore of India paints the character of Virabhadra as a fierce and fearful warrior. His persona is characterized by a tall figure, dark complexion, and eyes burning like fire.
Viarbhandra is also known as a devotee of Lord Shiva, who beheads even his acquaintances at Shiva’s command. Thus, the Virabhadrasana or the warrior yoga pose aims to help an individual envision themselves as the great hero fighter Virabhadra.
The transition between the five poses of the Virabhadrasana helps to harness the intensity, stamina, and master the will power similar to a warrior. The warrior yoga pose motivates the inner self to overcome spiritual negativity like ego and ignorance while fostering concentration, courage, and confidence.
Step by Step Guide
The warrior yoga pose is a complex asana with various transitions when you move from one level to the other. While many of them would seem familiar as they have a lot of subtle detail to provide proper alignment and smooth bending.
The step by step method of various stages of the Virabhadrasana is described below:
Warrior Yoga Pose 1
To start with the Virabhadrasana, you need to stand in tadasana or the mountain yoga pose. With an exhalation, separate your feet 4 ft apart by jumping slightly. Tadasana yoga pose helps to increase height.
Both the arms are then raised in a perpendicular direction with the floor. While keeping your scapula firm against the back, bring them towards the coccyx.
Then, shift the focus on your feet and rotate the left one 45 to 60 degrees towards the right. And the right foot is rotated 90 degrees in the outward direction. With an exhalation, rotate your upper body towards the right, while the pelvis is squared with the front edge of the yoga mat.
When the left part of the hip moves forward then, press the left femur to the ground with your heels. Furthermore, stretch the coccyx and slightly pull an arch with the torso.
With the left femur anchored to the floor, fold the right knee over the right ankle while exhaling. The shin should be perpendicular to the floor, and with practice, the thighs can also be aligned to parallel to the floor.
Raise your arms slowly, tugging the ribcage from your pelvic region. Try to close up the palms together as if in prayer. The head should be in a neutral position, with a forward gaze or you can fix your point of focus on your thumb by tilting your head a little.
Maintain the position for 30 sec to 1 min. While releasing the posture, inhale deeply and apply pressure on the back of the heel. Straightening the right knee, rotate the feet forward and release your arms while breathing out. You can repeat the steps after a few breaths.
The warrior yoga pose 1 boosts the flexibility of hips while providing strength to the legs, ankles, and feet. It is a hip opening posture and tones the lower body parts. The twist in the spine helps to loosen the shoulder and prepares for back end exercises.
Watch this informative video from bealoveyoga
Warrior Yoga Pose 2
The preparatory stage is the same as that of the warrior yoga pose 1 where we perform tadasana. The foot movements are the same as both of them are set apart with left foot pivoted inward. The right heels stand perfectly aligned with the left one.
Once you are in the stance, gently lift your arms and stretch them to the sides. The hands should be parallel to the ground with palms facing downwards. Then spread out from the ends of fingertips of both the arms.
Rotate the right knee and bent over the right ankle. Now, make use of the core muscles while you lower down your hips to the ground. While doing so, keep in mind to align the front thigh parallel to the floor.
You must refrain from pushing the knee past the ankles to avoid unnecessary burden on the joint. While you sink in, anchor the left foot firmly to the mat with your back leg straight.
Furthermore, focus on your gaze. With a forward spin of your head, stare at the middle finger of your right hand. Trigger the activity of your tricep muscles and stretch your chest by lowering down the shoulder blades.
While in the position, hold on till the count of 3 to 5 breaths and then gently release the stance. Start with straightening the right leg by putting slight pressure on the left foot to balance your body. Then, switch on the positions of the feet and repeat the asana on the reverse side.
The warrior yoga pose 2 improves the flexibility of the thoracic region of the body. It teaches the principle of calmness and solace. It also helps us to include the whole body while performing the asana.
Warrior Yoga Pose 3
The warrior yoga pose 3 is the most advanced posture of the Virabhadrasana series. Perform it by regular practice of the previous two asanas.
The posture starts with the warrior yoga pose 1 where you stretch legs with a forward lunge and the hands over the head. Then, gently sink down your buttocks, torso, and arms so that they lie parallel to the floor.
Furthermore, keep your right leg stretched and deliberately transfer all the body weight on the right leg without locking down the knee joint. Shift the weight, raise your left leg behind you, and bend the left foot.
Using the muscles of both the legs, look out to attain balance and proper alignment until your body is stable in the posture.
While engaging the lower back muscles and the core muscles, draw power and stability from them to keep your hips, torso, and arms stretched out in the parallel direction with respect to the floor.
Once you are stable in this stance, lift your head slightly to stare forward. While doing so, do not put any strain on your neck. Hold the posture for 3 to 5 deep breaths.
To shift back to the normal pasture, bring back both the hands to the floor on the sides of your right foot. Then with an exhalation, put down the left leg back to the floor. Keep the left leg adjacent to the right leg, and from here onwards, you can transform into other yoga poses for relaxation.
You can practice downward facing dog pose for a few breaths and then wrap up the asana by shifting back to the warrior yoga pose 1. You can then repeat the whole posture by shifting the foot positions.
The intense posture of the warrior yoga pose 3 concentrates on working the small muscles of feet and the ankles. It helps to instill harmony and balance throughout the body.
Humble Warrior Yoga Pose
The humble warrior yoga pose is a slight modification of the Virabhadrasana that focuses on using the muscles of arms and shoulders.
- The pose starts with taking the warrior yoga 1 posture with your head facing the side of the bent thigh. Stretch another leg back firmly to the foot.
- Then, bring both the arms behind the back of the shoulders while you interlace your fingers together. It prepares the thoracic region for the humble warrior pose.
- The upper body then leans forward inside the right knee while the clasped hands go down the back. When you bend forward, the arms will gently rise, and the crown of your head will touch the yoga mat.
Humble Warrior Yoga Pose or Baddha Virabhadrasana and draws our attention inwards as we make a bow-like posture. It works as a deep hip and shoulder opener and assists the body in various split poses.
Reverse Warrior Yoga Pose
The reverse warrior yoga pose or Viprita Virabhadrasana.
- This asana also starts with the warrior yoga pose 1 as the base posture. Place your feet about 4 feet apart with the rotation of the ankles as dine in the basic posture.
- The thigh or the shin muscle should bend parallel on the right ankle while the left leg is stretched out at the back.
- Then lift the right arm gently in the air and move it over the head.
- The left-arm simultaneously slides back down along the stretch of the left leg.
- While the right arm is in the air, refrain from putting all the body when on the left leg. Instead, just balance the left arm with a light touch.
- Keep the front knee bent in position throughout the posture. While relaxation comes back to the basic posture repeat it with the opposite leg and arm.
It releases the tension from the intercostal muscles and the ribs paving the way for a deeper breath.
The greatest benefit of the warrior yoga postures is that they invigorate the whole body with new energy. Some of the well-known benefits are as follows:
- It catalysts the core muscles of the body like the lower back muscles, arms, legs, etc.
- The pose opens up the movement of hips, groin, and shoulders.
- It increases the stamina of the abdominal region.
- Warrior yoga poses stretches and tones the core and gluteus muscles.
- It helps to rectify the posture, improves body balance, and coordination among various body parts.
- The extensive stretching expands the arms, ankles, thighs, chest, and shoulders.
- It also helps sciatica patients to ease the pain.
- The people who religiously practiced the warrior yoga pose had improved balance control over their bodies.