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Virabhadrasana I – Warrior I

May 2, 2011
  • Begin in Tadasana
  • Step the right foot far forward so that when you bend the right front leg it will be at a right angle
  • Then straighten both legs
  • The back foot should not be directly behind the front foot, the inner aspect of the left heel should be in line with the inner part of the front foot this enables the hips to be aligned and facing forward
  • Arms are relaxed down the sides of the body
  • On the inhalation, raise the arms up above the head and only, if possible, in line with the ears
  • On the exhalation, bend the front right leg to 90 degrees
  • The right knee should be directly above the right ankle and in line with the heel, the toes pointing forward
  • The back left leg should be as straight as is possible
  • Consciously press more of the body weight onto the back foot, rather than the front foot
  • If possible the back foot should be as flat as possible on the floor
  • The head and the chest should face the same direction as the right knee
  • Relax the shoulders and gently pull the shoulder blades down alongside the spine away from the ears
  • Hold for 5 to 8 breaths or for as long as is possible or comfortable
  • Release on the inhalation by releasing the arms down and straightening the front right leg
  • On the exhalation step the feet together back to Tadasana
  • Repeat the asana on the left side of the body for the same duration of time.

Counterpose:
One can practice Tadasana, Samasthiti or Ardha Uttanasana with arms against the back of a chair or a wall or Classic Uttanasana as a counter pose or Pratikryasana.

Cautions & Modifications:
If one experiences any shoulder or neck problems, or suffers from high blood pressure or any heart ailments, do not raise the arms up, rather rest the hands on the hips and do not hold the pose for too long, 3 to 5 cycles of breaths should suffice.

With any sacral or lumbar area conditions, proceed into the asana cautiously and do not over extend

If one experiences very tight quadriceps or thigh muscles and finds keeping the back foot as flat as possible too challenging on the muscles, curl the back toes under and raise the heel off the floor, this will facilitate the hips facing forward more and release the feeling of discomfort on the tight quadriceps. Bearing in mind that being on the back toes requires more concentration as balance plays more of a role in this variation.

Only hold the pose for as long as is comfortable and moving with the breath, as in all poses.

Benefits:

  • Tones and strengthens the leg muscles
  • Opens and expands the chest facilitating breathing
  • Releases stiffness and tensions between the shoulders, in the neck and in the back
  • Corrects round and drooping shoulders
  • Tones the abdominal area by reducing fat around the hips.

Remember to be mindful of:
Sthira Sukham Asanam – Steadiness and Comfort in the Pose so remember to follow the breath and listen to the body. Where you are in your practice, is exactly where you are meant to be – that is your Yoga.

Enjoy!

Love and Light,

Juanita.

Juanita CaprariJuanita Caprari is a certified Yoga teacher and Public Relations Practitioner. She started her Yoga practice in 2002. She has completed two Yoga Teacher Training Courses, the last one through Ananda Kutir Ashram and has been teaching Yoga since January 2007. jcaprari@mweb.co.za or visit the website www.yogamala.co.za.

Image: Jim Morel, www.enigmaphotography.co.za

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