Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

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Reverse Warrior Pose, Viparita Virabhadrasana, (VIP-uh-REE-tuh veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) 

viparita (reverse) + vira (brave) + bhadra (great/excellent) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Urdhva Virabhadrasana, Crescent Pose, Proud Warrior, Dancing Warrior

Pose Type: Backbend, Balancing, Stretching, Strengthening, Standing

Difficulty: Beginner

  • woman doing the reverse warrior pose
  • a women doing reverse warrior pose facing backwards

Stretch your side body or flow through a Dancing Warrior sequence with the Reverse Warrior Pose

Reverse Warrior Pose Fundamentals

Reverse Warrior Pose is a later variation of the earlier Warrior I Pose which was born from an ancient tale of Lord Shiva.

Virabhadra, the namesake of this pose was a fierce deity, depicted with one thousand arms, bright flaming eyes and hair, and a garland of skulls atop his head.

The Reverse Warrior Pose is practiced in Vinyasa flow as part of the Dancing Warrior Sequence to find flow, power, rythym, strength, and your inner warrior.

Reverse Warrior Pose Benefits

  • Strengthens the legs and glutes
  • Opens and stretches the chest, abdominal muscles, and side body
  • Helps with hip mobility
  • Fosters mental endurance as you learn to find ease in discomfort

How To Do TheReverse Warrior Pose: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

  • Begin in lunge position with right leg bent, knee directly stacked over ankle and feet around 3-4 feet away from each other.
  • Lean back as you rest left hand on your left leg, bringing your right arm up to the sky with fingers splayed. Gaze up to the sky or lift your chest up and reach your arm back for a gentle backbend.
  • Sink your hips towards the floor, turning them to the left slightly and keeping your right knee bent. Relax shoulders away from the ears.
  • Breathe and hold for 3-5 deep breaths, then repeat on other side.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing reverse warrior pose

Tips And Tricks:

  • Build the Reverse Warrior Pose from the ground up. Root down through all four corners of your feet and find a lightness in your spine and upper body.
  • Instead of your focus being on how far you can bend, turn your intention to lifting your chest and heart to the sky.
  • Make sure that your front knee is stacked over your front ankle.

Reverse Warrior Variations: Bound reverse warrior

Take a bind in Reverse Warrior by reaching your lowered arm around the back of your front hip. You may feel a greater opening through your chest.

Reverse Warrior pose Modification: Reverse Warrior With Gaze Variations

Gazing up towards your lifted hand may feel uncomfortable on your neck. If this is the case, here are two options:

1. Bring your gaze (drishti) towards your back foot on the mat.

2. Cradle your head with your raised arm. This will take some of the pressure away from your neck.

  • reverse warrior pose
  • reverse warrior pose 3

Precautions & Contraindications:

Neck Injuries:

If you are experiencing a neck strain or injury, take one of the above gaze modifications. And if they still put too much pressure on your neck, it may be best to come out of Reverse Warrior Pose.

Knee, Hip or Back Injuries:

This asana calls is demanding on your lower body. If you are experiencing an injury, prioritise staying pain free. This may mean sticking to less weight bearing yoga poses.

Preparatory Poses

Warrior 1 Pose

Warrior 2 Pose

Extended Side Angle Pose

Counter Poses

Upward Plank Pose

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

Photo of author
Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover.

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