Saturday, August 24, 2013

Virabhadrasana I

Warrior 1

Courtney Ronca doing Virabhadrasana I


Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) is usually done after Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). 

How to do it: (Explained as a right side Warrior 1)

From Adho Mukha Svanasana, look at the space between your hands. 

You will step your right foot forward into the space between your hands, coming into a nice lunge in your right leg. You can lunge as deeply as you would like up to the point where your knee is directly above your ankle (90 degrees). Your right thigh will be as parallel to the floor as possible. 

You can see that Courtney's back heel is directly behind
 her front heel making her back heel impossible to see. 

Your back left heel will rotate down onto the floor. Feel the energy distributed between the big toe, pinkie toe and heel. Also move some floor contact to the knife edge of your back foot for better stability. You back foot will be in a 45-60 degree angle. 

The heel of the right foot should line up with the heel of the back left foot. Your back left leg will be straight and firm without strain. 

Your hips, torso and shoulders should be even and parallel to the front of the mat. As you inhale, lift your rib cage up and extend through your torso and hands making your spine as lengthened as possible. 

Your arms and torso should be perpendicular to the floor. Depending on flexibility, you can also do a small backbend. Your arms will follow the same curvature of your back. 


Option 1: You can either have your hands together or apart.

Option 2: Lunging less deeply can help alleviate strain in the legs.

Option 3: Your torso can be parallel to the floor; backbends are optional. 

Option 4: You can stagger your feet instead of having the heels in line, if your pose feels uncomfortable.

Drishti (Where you should look):

Hastagrahe dṛiṣṭi: Look at the hands. You can look forward if you have difficulty looking at your hands.

Why we do it: 

This is a great pose to strengthen the legs, improve concentration, create stamina in your thighs, stretches the groin and improves balance.

About the picture:

Pictured is my dear friend Courtney Ronca. Courtney began practicing yoga in 2005 while she was a graduate student in college, but it wasn't until her move into the bay area in 2007, that she met her teacher Anirudh Shastri and decided she wanted to teach. Since her move in 2007, Courtney has completed two 200 hour teacher training programs, and one 500 hour teacher training program under Sri Dharma Mittra.

Courtney has a knack for making the impossible possible for students. She has a special ability of breaking down complex poses, and making them attainable.

You can find her teaching at: Peacebank Yoga in Redwood City, CA, Studio Rincon in Menlo Park, CA, East West Yoga in Cupertino, CA and San Jose State University in San Jose, CA.

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