This yoga pose, called Warrior I, tones and strengthens up the leg muscles, which can help in the more-advanced standing postures, like balancing on one leg. It also enhances mobility and movement, particularly in relation to the arms, shoulder and neck areas. The strong actions in this pose engage core muscles and inner organs around the abdomen, which can also help aid in digestion.
Beware, however – this challenging pose can be exhausting! As you move through the various stages, try to calm and slow your breathing. Don’t grit your teeth; breathe into it, relaxing your face muscles and softening your breath.
- Position your yoga mat length ways and stand in the centre of it.
- Inhale step walk or jump the feet wide.
- Keep your knees lifted and thighs back.
- Keep your trunk and chest lifted.
- Take the hands on to the waist for a moment.
- Turn the right foot about 90 degrees to the right, and the left foot in about 60 degrees, keeping both legs straight.
- Now turn the shoulders, trunk and pelvis to face the right.
- It is more important at first to get your hips square facing the direction of your front leg than to get your back heel on the ground.
- Tuck your tailbone under as much as you can even in this difficult position and draw your abdomen inward and upward as you lift your chest.
- Keep the chest lifted.
- Exhale, keeping the left leg straight and firm, bend the right knee, bringing the thigh parallel to the floor.
- Your front knee should be directly over the ankle and heel of your front leg.
- Extend the arms over the head, elbows straight, bringing the palms together.
- Keeping the neck extended, take the head back and look up.
- Inhale, lift the head, straighten the right leg, turn the trunk and both feet to face forward, then repeat stage 1 and 2 on the left side.
Explore each stage separately. You can reach the final pose in two ways , firstly by extending the arms up first before bending the knee - which is more challenging-or by raising the arms up after bending the knee.
Lee Kennedy qualified with The BKS Iyengar Yoga Association UK, the YTTC and Ana Forrest of Forrest Yoga. She specialises in pregnancy-related yoga and also studied with Janet Balaskas, founder of the Active Birth Foundation, UK. Visit Yogadara.com or call 0863906343 for more information.