DAY 17. (read to the end for your challenge today)
VIRABHADRASANA (warrior poses)
These two bold and dynamic postures are names after Virabhadra, a warrior of Indian mythology. Both postures work strongly on the connection between the hips, pelvis and lower back, the seats of the lowest chakras. They tone and strengthen the thigh muscles and harness energy and strength which are directed wherever they are needed in the body or mind.
First Variation (Warrior 1):
1. Stand with your feet parallel and approximately 135 cm (4 ½ ft) apart. Turn your left leg out by 90 degrees and slightly turn in the toes of your right foot. Swing your hips round to face your left leg and, on an in-breath, lift your arms over your head.
2. Stabilize your pelvis and pull up your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles to give support to your spine. Drop your tailbone toward the floor and press your back heel and the outer edge of your foot into the ground. Keeping your arms straight, bring your palms together and, on an out-breath, bend your left knee in a deep lunge so that it is directly over your ankle. Look up and lift your chest. Breathe. Repeat on the other side of your body.
*If you cannot keep your arms straight with your palms together, let them be shoulder-wide apart. If your back heel comes off the ground, slip a block underneath it and press down.
Second Variation (Warrior 2):
1. Stand with your feet about 135 cm (4 ½ ft) apart. Turn your left leg out by 90 degrees and slightly turn in the toes of your right foot. On an in-breath lift your arms to shoulder height and lengthen your torso. Pull up your pelvic floor and lower abdominal muscles.
*You can make a dynamic sequence of these two steps. Breathe out and go into step two, breathe in and go back into step one. Repeat this a few times and listen to the quality of your breath as you do so.
2. On an out-breath, turn your head to gaze along the middle finger of your left hand. Bend your left knee in a deep lunge. Breathe. Repeat on the other side of your body.
Both variations can hurt your knees if you do them incorrectly. Make sure your knee always faces the same direction as your foot – don’t let it collapse inward. Lift the thighs in step 1 of both variations. When you go into a deep lunge, keep your front knee directly above your ankle, your shin perpendicular and your thigh parallel to the floor.
Here is a video that shows warrior 1 and warrior 2… and, if you are feeling up to it, it will also show you warrior 3 which is not described in this blog.
Day 17 challenge:
We love the warrior poses. A great stretch for your legs but also a great workout! Try doing a dynamic sequence to get even more out of the posture. Which warrior pose is your favorite? Warrior 1 or warrior 2? Share with us in the comment box below.
All participants’ names will be entered in our 30 days of yoga with hipS-sister draw Oct. 1st.