Asanas – Poses – Warrior Weekend – Virabhadrasana I II & III – Warrior Pose 1 2 & 3

Virabhadrasana II

Good morning Yogis! We are back to the Third Limb of Yoga, Asanas or poses! We are going to take today and tomorrow to cover a few Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses. These poses are all very common in Yoga classes, especially Vinyasa style. Though there can be slight differences in “proper” way to perform a pose from teacher to teacher and even within the same class, I am sharing what I keep in mind during these poses when I practice.

You will notice all Virabhadrasanas have the same strong base/legs – front foot pointing straight forward, back foot grounded and pointing to the side. Even Virabhadrasana III, with the back leg off the ground, starts from Virabhadrasana I.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is trying Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses 1 2 & 3. Try to hold each Asana / pose for a few breaths, and try on both sides! We will break down each pose below.

Here is a great quick video going through Virabhadrasanas I II & III. Please note this Warrior 1 is a modified beginner version with the back foot pointing a bit forward. I do recommend trying this version if you are a beginner, and working on getting the back foot further pointed to the side as you become more comfortable with these turned-out hips.

Virabhadrasana I

This is the first Warrior Pose, but actually the most awkward for me and the one I practice the least. I typically perfer to replace Virabhadrasana I / Warrior I with Ashtanga Chandrasana / High Lunge as described in the “hips” section below.

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight).

Legs – Your front leg should be bent with your knee directly over the ankle. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side.

Hips – Hips are quite tricky in traditional Virabhadrasana 1! Try to point both hips straight forward, even though this will never be 100% possible since your back foot is pointing out to the side. If this pose is too awkward or rough on your hips, flip your back leg so knee points down, and ground back foot with toe/ball into the mat, and come into a more comfortable Ashtanga Chandrasana / High Lunge.

Torso – Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – Start with hands on your hips, to try to feel your hips pointing forward as much as possible. If you are comfortable, keep your shoulders down, INHALE and raise your hands to the sky, keeping your arms next to your ears.

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead or up between your raised hands. Note where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Virabhadrasana II

This is the most well-known Warrior pose! Even if you have practiced this Asana before, it’s worth going back to basics with this pose, making sure you have a solid foundation before “flowing” through this pose in a Vinyasa class.

Feet – Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight). Keep your back foot grounded into your mat to help open your hips.

Legs – Your front leg should be bent with knee directly over ankle. Keep back leg straight, with knee to the side.

Hips – Hips should stay open to the side. Take note of your booty – it should be almost tucked under rather than sticking out.

Torso – Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – Raise your arms parallel to the ground, with palms facing down. Look left and right and make sure both arms are the same height, and pointing straight forward and back. Hint – many Yogis let the back arm droop a bit!

Head and Neck – Keep your head in line with the rest of your torso, looking straight ahead at your front hand (or straight to the side if easier on your neck). Note where your ears are compared to your shoulders. Most of us keep our heads slightly forward. If you notice you are doing this, tuck your chin slightly and gently press back to bring your neck and ears into alignment with your shoulders.

Virabhadrasana III

This is a challenging balance pose, usually entered from Warrior 1 or High lunge. See how long you can hold for… work up to 3 full breaths if you can!

Feet – Start grounded in Virabhadrasana / Warrior I. Feet should be about 3 – 4 1/2 feet apart, flat on the ground. The front foot should point straight ahead, and the back foot should point straight to the side (or pointing slightly forward if hips are tight). When you lean forward into Virabhadrasana / Warrior III, keep your back foot pointed or flexed to the side, whatever helps your balance.

Legs – You will start with front leg bent with knee directly over ankle. As you lean forward, straighten your standing leg. Work your raised back leg to parallel to the ground, and keep straight with knee pointing down or to the side, whatever helps your balance.

Hips – You will lean forward into Warrior III bending at your hips, not your waist. Your hips will point straight down at the ground when you come into the full expression of the pose.

Torso – Keep your torso straight and tall over your hips. Take note of your rib cage. If you notice the bottom of rib cage is sticking out, pull back in and down to correct your posture. Next, notice your shoulders. Try to gently roll your shoulders back and down, away from your ears. Notice how this helps your chest open.

Arms – Raise your arms parallel to the ground, with palms facing each other. Keeping your arms and back leg parallel to the ground helps balance in this pose!

Head and Neck – Keep your head and neck in line with your torso. Look straight down at your mat, or perhaps a bit ahead, whatever helps your balance.

Please comment to share your experience with these Virabhadrasanas or Warrior Poses! What did you think? Which one did you like the best? Always remember, be kind!

Please stay tuned for more warrior poses tomorrow!

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