How to do Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)
How to do Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)
The MOST Essential Alignments for Advanced Yogis
If you Google ‘how to do Virabhadrasana I (warrior pose I)’ you’ll find thousands of posts explaining how to set-up for this pose. Where to put the feet. The arms. What the name of the pose means. Which is why I’m going to skip all that and get to straight to the point. I’m going to share what I consider to be the most important alignments for Virabhadrsaana I in the world: a step-by step guide on how to profoundly adjust the sacral band in this asana. The best techniques and the most efficient verbal cues guaranteed to transform your experience of Virabhadrasana I forever.
Lets Get Started!
As you’ll see, I’ve divided the adjustments into 3 different parts (Legs, Torso, Arms) and I’ve highlighted the verbal cues for easier visual assimilation. Note: Verbal cues are crucial. They have to be laser-point sharp to successfully circumvent the mind and speak directly to the body. Saying them aloud is much more powerful.
Here is the best way to learn from this post:
First skim read the entire text.
Then enter the pose (right side first) and hold.
Now reread the verbal cues out loud, to your body, whilst you are in the pose.
Verbal Cues Once in the Pose
(right leg forward, left leg back)
1 – LEGS:
“Find the front of the back thigh and roll it in. Turn the skin. Turn the muscle. The kneecap facing the floor more and more. Now turn the hips to really face the front. Then find the outer right hip and roll it back and down. Now push the front of the back thigh to the thighbone. Ironing the muscle to the bone. Straighten the back inner completely and charge the leg.”
Explanation: The legs set the hips and the hips need to be even for the spine and the rest of the body to work evenly. In Virabhadrasana I both hips need to face forward and have the same height level. This is particularly challenging because the back leg tends to pull its corresponding hip backwards. Fortunately, by rolling the back leg in, both front pelvic bones are given the space to turn fully forward. Then by rolling the front outer hip both back and down we can even out the height of the hips thus stabilizing the base of the trunk so that that the hip area is as ‘symmetrical’ as possible. This ensures that the sacral band adjustment will emerge from a stable and well-balanced foundation. Once the hips feel their new purpose, mentally return to the back leg and make that final adjustment of pushing the front thigh muscle backwards to the thighbone and straightening the inner knee. This harnesses the power of the quadriceps to work anti-gravitationally, to bring density, consistent energy and presence to the back leg, keeping it strong, straight and engaged. It is the anchor of the pose.
2 – TORSO:
“Pump the middle buttocks forward. Move the tailbone towards the pubic bone. Feel the tailbone rubbing against the back of the pubic bone. Then inhale and lift the pubic bone up to the navel. Lift the navel up to the sternum. Lift the sternum up to the collarbones. Re-stretch the arms.”
Explanation: The action of pushing the middle buttocks forward and then the tailbone forward is absolutely crucial for adjusting the sacral band from which the entire rest of the pose extends. Dissecting anatomy refines our ability to access increasingly subtle areas of the body. So the first action of pushing the middle buttocks forward prepares for the enhanced experience of subsequently moving the tailbone forward. By engaging more profoundly with these tweaks we become able to connect with the base of the pubic bone, pushing it forward enough to make it perpendicular to the floor. This supports the essential action of lifting the pubic bone and the lower abdominal organs upwards. That inner organic lifting brings vibrant energy to the chest whilst simultaneously supporting the lumbar. As long as we stay attentive, repetitively directionalizing that part of the body as we do the rest of the pose, the lower back will remain superbly stable. The last verbal cue of re-stretching the arms helps take the action of inner ascension into new dimensions whilst maintaining full spinal integrity.
3 – ARMS:
“Stretch the arms and stretch the armpits. Feel the skin of the armpits tearing. Make the elbows firm. Keep stretching the arms up and back. Make sure that the upper arms are back behind the line of the ear. Now press the shoulder blades forward. Feel them pushing the sternum plate forward. Open the chest.“
Explanation: The arms are the final part of the pose. The highest point. Their role is to keep the ascending action vibrant and active. Working directly with the (often ignored) armpits and learning to get that skin stretching to it’s maximum transforms the upward thrust of the arms. This in turn helps lift the pubic bone and lower organs upwards bringing broadness to the chest and side ribs. The second subtle but necessary adjustment of moving the arms back behind the ears is crucial if we want to gain access to the upper back. Only by moving the lifted upper arms backwards (without jutting the chin forward) and then pressing the shoulder blades forward can we begin to retrain the upper back and open the frontal chest from the back body itself.
So there we go. Easy right? Well… sort of. Simplicity is harder to master than we think. But trust me when I tell you that this sacral adjustment will change everything. Without connecting to these adjustments in Virabhadrasana I, the lower back risks strain, the abdominal organs drop and the chest remains closed. Essentially this is in conflict with the entire beneficial intent of the posture itself. But once you know about these alignments. Once you incorporate some of these simple powerful verbal cues into your practice, everything will begin to change for the better. You remove all strain. The body’s innate intelligence burns more brightly An awakened fresh delicacy ripples through the system igniting amazing postural shifts. This is truly the ultimate sacral band adjustment that will transform the way that you practice and teach Virabhadrasana I forever.