Yoga Warriors

Virabhadrasana I and II

The postures of warriors are very important in yoga, these are key postures of dynamic practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa. These are complete asanas that make the whole body work, strengthening and softening it at the same time.

Here we will explain the precautions to be taken when dealing with these postures, how to enter warriors I and II and what are the benefits on the body and mind.

Virabhadrasana Etymology

VIRA: Brave Hero

VIRABHADRA: Shiva’s Avatar Spiritual Warrior

ASANA: yoga posture

Origin of warrior postures

Virabhadrasana is a posture that appears in one of the founding texts of yoga, Shiva Puranas – an account of the legends associated with the god Shiva.

Shiva is the god of transformation. It is the symbol of nature’s shifting and changing power.

The spiritual warrior Virabhadra is said to have been born from a strand of Shiva’s hair. Its role is to restore divine order.

Spiritually, this posture is linked to the values of sincerity and honesty: drishti(the gaze) is straight and frank, it is connected to the “want”, the intention, but also to the will and power.

Practicing Virabhadrasana allows us to develop these qualities within us.

Virabhadrasana I

Taking the posture

From Tadasana to the front of the mat, step back with your right foot. At first, it won’t be very big, then you’ll increase the space between the two feet as you evolve in your yoga practice.

Purists believe that heels should be located on the same line in relation to each other, but we Westerners often suffer from a lack of mobility and opening in the hips, so it may be recommended to let the back foot get pose on the ground naturally, slightly out of step with the right foot. In Warrior I, the toes of the left foot are directed towards the front of the mat and the right foot forms an angle of about 45 degrees inwards; the left knee is bent at 90 degrees, i.e. it is placed above the ankle, while the right leg is stretched at the back.

One of the crucial points of this pose is to keep the hips aligned. Of course, when you open your right leg it is natural that the right hip opens slightly. However, be sure to keep it relatively at the same height as the left hip. “Left hip backwards and low, right hip forward and top” so that they form a “square.”

You can observe the position of your hips in a mirror and become aware of the feeling in the pelvis. It is also possible to place your hands on your hips to soak up their position at first.

Then stretch your arms to the sky with your wrists, elbows and shoulders in the same vertical line. Keep some flexibility in the shoulders, these are low, away from the ears. Create length at the lumbar, open your chest towards the sky and breathe amply into the space created.

Maintain posture between 5 and 10 breaths by stretching the spine upwards on inspiration and becoming aware of the strength of the legs on the exhale.

Symbolic posture

Virabhadrasana I represents the duel between Earth and Heaven. The yogi is rooted, stable, while turning his heart upwards. It thus establishes itself in its center, the perfect balance. The upward movement of the ribcage represents self-giving. The practitioner is invited to abandon his ego, to open himself to the Divine.

For Professor Judith Sciarone (who teaches in Deauville and Paris), the legs are the image of the horse, it is an energy directed forward, with the hips facing, while the feet (or hooves) anchor to the ground.

The upper body represents the rider in ascending energy, he surrenders to the god of war.

Virabhadrasana II

Taking the posture

From Tadasana, step back with your right foot inhaling. The rear foot is positioned parallel to the narrow edge of the carpet. The left foot remains forward-facing, as in Virabhadrasana I, with the knee bent at 90 degrees, above the ankle. Here, unlike Warrior I, the hips are wide open and you are in the direction of the length of the carpet.

The arms are open on either side, the shoulders stretched away from the ears. The gaze is carried far forward, you fix a point on the horizon above the middle finger of the left hand.

Symbolic posture

This warrior is more rooted in the earth, he spiritually symbolizes the maintenance of order in the world. The arms stretched on each side represent the past and the future. It is an opening posture reflecting power and commitment.

What are the contraindications to the realization of Warriors I and II?

These postures should not be practiced if you suffer from a condition affecting the kneecap or synovial capsule. At first, it is recommended to reduce the gap between the feet in order to force less on the knee joint.

Also, if you suffer from dizziness, keep your head straight in the posture of Warrior I. Finally, hold the spine straight and engage your abdominal muscles so as not to cause a crush in the lower back.

The strengths and benefits of Warriors I and II

We remind you, it is important to keep the knee aligned with the second toe and the kneecap well focused. When practiced properly, warriors can even contribute to the healthy knee.

By acting on the reinforcement of the plantar arch, the warriors correct the deformations of the foot. They strengthen the leg and hip and improve the overall condition of the leg and especially the knee. It is an ideal posture to muscle the shoulders and back, which restores the balance of the body and improvesbalance by acting on the inner ear. This posture gives inner stability and a form of assurance and allows you to turn forward (going forward).