Humble Warrior Pose, Baddha Virabhadrasana, (bah-dha VEER-ah-bhah-DRAH-suh-nuh)
baddha (bound) + veera (warrior) + bhadra (friend) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Devotional Warrior Pose
Come into a reverent bow as your stability is challenged and you are invited to draw our focus inwards.
Humble Warrior Pose Fundamentals
Take a moment for introspection and allow yourself to surrender in Humble Warrior Pose.
Often done after a Warrior series, this pose balances the focus on strength and power with a sense of devotion and humility. Physically, it will activate your body in multiple ways as it combines lunging and forward-bending actions.
In this manner, it will simultaneously challenge your strength in the lower part of the body, and encourage you to relax and release in the upper body.
Folding your body and keeping the crown on or close to the ground creates a bowing movement. This action is what gave the pose its name – we’re moving away from the internal power we need to tackle everyday life on earth, to take a moment to be humble, turn inward and bow to the Divine Power.Like all Warrior Poses, Humble Warrior is named after Virabhadra, a ruthless warrior created from a lock of Lord Shiva’s head. But while other poses mimic the warrior fighting and beheading Shiva’s enemy, Humble Warrior shows Virabhadra’s complete, unwavering devotion to his creator.
Where other Warrior variations encourage us to lift tall and gaze forward on up, Humble Warrior brings our attention back inwards. In the end, being able to surrender is brave in itself, and introspection is what will help us build our real power.
This pose gets more difficult the more we resist it and try to control it. Once you let go and allow gravity to do most of the work, you will reach a beautiful state of peace and surrender.
Energetically, the pose stimulates all 7 chakras, but is most active in the Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra.
That makes sense when we view the symbolism and intention of the pose, as balancing this chakra will also help build confidence and allow us to cultivate a calmer and stabler state of mind.
Humble Warrior Pose Benefits
- The pose will strengthen the front leg muscles of the bent leg, while also lengthening the back of the extended leg, simultaneously working on strength and flexibility.
- It also stretches the shoulders, back, hips and glutes, and strengthens the core, biceps, and triceps.
- By engaging the mid-back muscles, the pose expands the chest and may help in deeper breathing.
- Helps build a sense of stability and foundational leg strength required for more challenging standing positions.
- The pose acts as a mild inversion, boosting blood flow in the head and neck. That may help calm the mind and aid you draw your attention inwards. It will also reduce overthinking and symptoms of stress and anxiety.
- Brings a sense of grounding and inner confidence.
How To Do The Humble Warrior Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin standing on the top of your mat, in Mountain Pose. Step your right foot back, and turn it to a 45-degree angle. Keep the leg extended.
2. Bend the left knee, so it forms a 90-degree angle with the floor. Keep it in line with the ankle.
3. Your front heel and the arch of your back foot should ideally be in the same line. Feel free to move them slightly apart if that’s not natural for you.
4. Bring your arms behind your back, keep them extended and clasp your palms. Open your chest and lengthen your spine.
5. With your next exhale, begin folding forward next to the front thigh, but keep your spine straight. Use your extended arms as leverage to move deeper into the pose.
6. Hold for around 3-5 breaths. To come up, draw your belly in and use your core strength to safely lift your torso. Step back to Mountain pose, and repeat the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- In the full expression of the pose, the heel of the front foot is directly in line with the front of the back foot. However, you can set them a bit wider if you are a beginner, because that will help you gain more stability.
- Ground firmly throughout your entire back foot to ensure you’re distributing your weight evenly in both legs.
- If you struggle to clasp your hands behind your back, you can also grab opposite elbows, reach your hands forward or keep them at your heart.
- Try not to rest your stomach on your leg, to encourage activation in the core.
- Don’t move one hip in front of the other, keep them parallel.
- If you feel any discomfort in the back foot, lift the heel and manage the weight on the ball of the foot.
Humble Warrior Pose Variation:
Humble Warrior Pose Variation: With A Strap
If you can’t comfortably clasp your hands behind your back, but want to work towards that, use a strap, belt, or a rolled towel. Simply hold the strap with each hand at a distance that allows you to hold the pose without overstraining.
Humble Warrior Pose Variation: With A Bind
Advanced students may want to feel a deeper stretch in their shoulders. To achieve that, wrap the arm on the same side as your front leg below the thigh, and bend the other behind your back. Then clasp them together to get into a bind.
Precautions & Contraindications:
The front knee going too far. Your front knee should form a 90-degree angle with the mat. It should also be roughly in the same line as the arch of your foot, so you can still see your toes when your torso is upright.
Turning the back heel too much. Your back heel should be turned out, but don’t overdo it. When you misalign your heel, that will also impact the alignment in your hip and leg. Keep it between 45 and 60 degrees from the center.
Injuries and Surgery
If you recently had an injury or are recovering from surgery in the spine, shoulders, wrists, knees, neck, lower back, hips, or ankles avoid the pose.
Pregnant women and those with severe stomach issues should also avoid the pose due to the pressure on the abdomen. Finally, refrain from the pose if you have high blood pressure, vertigo, or heart issues.
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