Ashtanga Yoga Pose Explained

Warrior Pose / Vira = Hero

Virabhadrasana-A, also known as Warrior One Pose is one of the most iconic yoga poses, along with Warrior Two, Virabhadrasana-B. As it is a foundational yoga pose, it is important to make sure you’re correctly completing this asana.

Benefits of Virabhadrasana-A:

Virabhadrasana-A, Warrior One, is excellent for those with sciatica. It stretches the thighs, calves, ankles, shoulders, arms, back, chest, abdomen, and groin. As you can tell, this asana very nearly stretches the entire body!

So let’s get to covering how to correctly do Warrior One.

One important thing to note is that the counting follows from a downward dog. You do not need to enter Samasthi before attempting Virabhadrasana-A. You will enter it following a Surya Namaskara. This is how Virabhadrasana-A is treated in the Ashtanga Primary Series. As you are going through the vinyasa Surya Namaskara flow, you will notice that the count begins on Sapta, seven, instead of Ekam, one.

(7) Sapta - Inhale - Step the right foot forward between hands, bend right knee over right ankle in a 90-degree angle and raise the arms up, placing the palms together. Feet should be approximately 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Your back foot should be at a 45-degree to 60-degree angle.

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

(8) Astau - Inhale - Straighten the right leg and turn around to the other side. Keep arms raised up the entire time.

Hold the posture and breathe for 5 breaths.

The eye-gaze, dristi, is urdhva, upward. Your gaze should be locked in your hands.

Tips for Successfully Completing Virabhadrasana-A:

In Warrior One, it is important to have your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle so that your knee does not dive over your ankle. The distance between the feet will vary due to height differences. However, it should be approximately 3.5 to 4 feet apart, slightly wider than 1 meter. Make sure the back foot is turned at a 45 to 60-degree angle and that the right heel and left heel are both aligned. Press the back heel and outside of the back foot firmly into the floor. Keep your torso and pelvis facing forward. Lastly, make sure you reach up strongly through your arms. This means that you’ll extend arms even out of your armpits. Make sure the extension is complete. If possible, emphasize mula bandha, root lock.

Modifications for Virabhadrasana-A:

If it is not possible to keep the back heel firmly planted on the ground, then it is okay to lift the back heel until flexibility allows the back heel to be planted.