Twelve Months of fearless Yoga Asana | Virabhadrasana

 

Original article in transform. March 2010.

It’s essential to root and stabilize our foundation before doing anything else, especially before extending outward. It’s always good to re-stabilize our foundation, and virabhadrasana, warrior posture, provides us the opportunity to do just that.

The third asana (posture) in the fearlessYoga flow, is “virabhadrasana” or “warrior posture.” This posture helps us to strengthen our roots and access our power. As we approach the Spring Equinox, we can practice virabhadrasana to root ourselves strongly in our core so that we can celebrate the renewal of springtime from a centered place.

Virabhadrasana, warrior posture has three variations:

Virabhadrasana (Warrior) I
Virabhadrasana (Warrior) II
Virabhadrasana (Warrior) III

Try out all three, and feel your strength and power!

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Virabhadrasana (Warrior) I

1. Stand with your feet together. On an outbreath, step or lightly jump your feet apart, about 4 feet wide. Point the toes forward and keep the feet parallel to each other.

2. Turn your left foot in towards the center of the body about 45 degrees.

3. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees away from the the center line of your body. Align your right and left heels so that they are aligned.

4. Breathe out, turn your torso towards the right. Point the bony protrusions at the top of your pelvis straight forward, in line with your toes. Keep your pelvis neutral—tailbone pointed down towards the earth and left and right sides parallel to the earth.

5. Breathe out, root your left foot with the earth, bend your right knee while maintaining a neutral pelvis. Point the knee in line with the toes, keeping the knee over the ankle as much as possible.

6. Breathe in, extend your arms up towards the sky. Radiate energy out through your fingertips. Draw the shoulders down, away from the ears. Keep the insides of the elbows in line with the ears as much as possible.

7. Radiate energy up through the crown of the head. Gaze forward.

8. Maintain the posture for 3 to 5 breaths. If it gets difficult, make your breathing louder.

9. To exit the posture, breathe out, lower your arms, and straighten the bent leg. Turn your torso and feet back to their original positions.

10. Repeat on the left side.

Benefits:

* Opens the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
* Strengthens the shoulders, arms, and muscles of the back
* Strengthens and creates space in the thighs, calves, and ankles

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Virabhadrasana (Warrior) II

1. Stand with your feet together. On an outbreath, step or lightly jump your feet apart, about 4 feet wide. Point the toes forward and keep the feet parallel to each other.

2. Turn your left foot in towards the center of the body about 45 degrees.

3. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees away from the the center line of your body. Align your right and left heels so that they are aligned.

4. Draw the left hip back, looking for the hips to be parallel with the long side of the yoga mat.

5. Breathe out, bend the right knee. This knee will tend to lean towards the left; keep the knee directly above the ankle as much as possible.

6. Breathe in, raise your arms to shoulder height, extending out through the fingertips. Turn your head to look over the fingers of the right hand.

7. Maintain the posture for 3 to 5 breaths. If it gets difficult, make your breathing louder.

8. To exit the posture, breathe out, lower your arms, and straighten the bent leg. Turn your torso and feet back to their original positions.

9. Repeat on the left side.

Benefits:

* Strengthens and opens the legs and ankles
* Opens the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
* Stimulates abdominal organs
* Increases stamina
* Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
* Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica

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Virabhadrasana (Warrior) III

1. Stand with your feet together. Step the right foot forward, left foot back, into high lunge position. Keep the right knee directly above the ankle. Place the hands on the earth, using blocks if you like. One hand on each side of the bent knee.

2. Breathe in, extend your arms forward, parallel to the earth and parallel to each other. Keep the insides of the elbows in line with the ears as much as possible. Extend out through the fingertips. Draw the shoulders away from the ears.

3. Breathe out, root your right heel with the earth. Begin straightening the front leg while simultaneously lifting the rear leg parallel with the earth. Look for the arms, torso, and legs to be parallel with the earth as much as possible.

4. The hip of the raised leg may be slightly higher. Adjust the hips to keep them parallel with the earth. Extend through the toes of the rear leg.

5. Lift the head slightly to look forward, being careful not to compress the back of the neck.

6. Maintain the posture for 3 to 5 breaths. If it gets difficult, make your breathing louder.

7. To exit the posture, breathe out, lower back down into lunge position.

8. Breathe out, step the left foot forward to meet the right. Hang over in Standing Forward Bend for a few breaths. Then repeat the posture on the left side.

Benefits:

* Strengthens the ankles and legs
* Strengthens the shoulders and muscles of the back
* Tones the abdomen
* Improves balance and posture


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