How to Do Warrior I Pose in Yoga (Guide to Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior I brings together standing and balancing in a pose that creates stillness in the mind while improving focus.

As well as building flexibility in the hips, this pose will also make you feel strong, empowered, and connected to your body.

“Warrior I is a great beginner’s pose for those looking to increase confidence in themselves and their practice,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “The way the entire body is positioned for this pose is ideal for building self-belief.”

Warrior I Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana I
Pose Type: Standing Yoga Poses, Strengthening Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Beginner pose
Targets: Arms, shoulders, neck, core, psoas, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, knees
Benefits: This pose creates a deep stretch in the inner thighs while increasing flexibility in the hips and ankles. By stretching the arms overhead, you’ll also bring attention to the breath as well as the entire body and your sense of balance.
Preparatory Poses: Low lunge, mountain pose

How to Do Warrior I Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Start by standing at the front of your mat.
  2. Take a big step back with your right foot and bend deeply into the left knee while keeping the back leg straight.
  3. Allow your hips to sink towards the ground without letting your front knee overhang your ankle – you might like to bring the feet further apart to avoid this.
  4. Turn your right foot out to 45 degrees so that it’s pointing to the top corner of your mat.
  5. Keep your back leg straight.
  6. Raise your arms overhead – keep the palms facing each other and shoulder distance apart.
  7. Bring your focus to balancing as you turn your head to look up towards your hands.

Beginner’s Tip

Pay attention to your back knee when practicing this pose. If turning your foot to 45-degrees causes a strange sensation in your knee, bring your foot to face forwards.

Contraindications

  • Turn the back foot to face forwards if you have pain or discomfort in the back knee
  • If you’re pregnant, use a chair or wall to help you keep your balance

Variation

Try practicing this pose by bringing your hands to a chair in front of you or by bringing them to rest on your hips. From here, you can experiment with finding a position that feels comfortable for your legs and back knee.

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