Sunday, April 1, 2012

Warrior Poses

Make sure you practice your Warrior Poses on an empty stomach: the best time of the day is just before breakfast or just before dinner, when you have the greatest amount of energy.

Warrior Sequence

Virabhadrasana 1 or Warrior 1

Raise the upper body stretching the arms above the head. The hands can be in prayer position, interlocked or shoulder width apart. The fingers can be closed or open. (One creates a direct force and the other is a flared force.)

The chest faces forward. The heels are in line but you can also perform this pose with a little width between the heels. This will slightly change the alignment of the hips and can improve the alignment.

The navel area will naturally stick out. To engage lower core abdominal muscles pull the navel up and back. This will reduce pressure on the lower back.

Aligning the shoulders horizontally is desired. There are many ways to do this. Shown opposite is a method of lifting them. Sometimes this is not done because of blood flow interference or nerve impingement. It is quite nice to have all the muscles, skin and cells around the arms and shoulders moving in an upwards direction. The energy forces of the pose feel better.

Urdhva Virabhadrasana II or Warrior 2
Step the legs apart then turn one leg 90 degrees out and bend this knee. Position the knee above the ankle. Stretch the arm on that side up so that the side of the body is stretched. Lean back and place the other hand on the straightened leg and look up.

The fingers can be closed or open. (One creates a direct force and the other is a flared force.)

Placing the hand on the leg for some extra support can help relieve pressure form the back.

Both legs are strengthened in this pose. It can also help the knee muscles strengthen. The shoulders are stretched and the arms are strengthened. This yoga posture will also increase groin flexibility.
Warrior 3 or Virabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3

From Tadasana lean the upper body forward while raising one leg back and up. Take the hands out sideways instead of straight in front as shown if you are just learning balance or balancing is difficult.

Push through the heels, toes or ball points of the feet. Pushing though the toes may be the best option because the energy of the force through the toes helps in raising the leg a little more but the ball points of the toes will also create a lift through the leg.

Align the hips horizontally. The raised leg has to be rotated inward to achieve a horizontal alignment. It is hard to maintain balance when doing this. The strength of the big toe on the supporting leg can prevent loss of balance when the inward rotation is applied.

Feel a stretch from the toes of the raised leg to the fingers in front of you. It takes many years to get a very straight feeling of energy through the body. The shoulders and legs have to be flexible quite flexible.

Look forward for stability or down to stretch the spine even longer. Gazing back at your foot as a self check can be quite revealing. It is also hard to balance so make sure you are advanced before you attempt it in practice.

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