Warrior 1 Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

Warrior 1 Pose, Virabhadrasana 1, (Vii-Ruh-Bhuh-Draa-Suh-Nuh)

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

Also known as: High Lunge, Knee down lunge, Crescent Lunge

Pose Type: Stretching, Strengthening, Standing, Balancing

Difficulty: Beginner

  • woman performing the warrior 1 pose
  • woman performing the warrior 1 pose

Balance flexibility and strength in this foundational yoga pose

Warrior 1 Pose Fundamentals

Warrior 1 pose is the first asana in a collection of three standing poses that represent the exploits of Hindu god Vīrabhadra, a mythical warrior in Hindu texts.

Warrior I represents Virabhadra arriving at Daksha’s ceremony with a sword in each hand, ready to kill Daksha and everyone at the ceremony at the command of Lord Shiva.

For a full explanation of the story of Virabhadra, check out this article: The Yoga Warrior Pose Explained

Warrior I is an asana that balances opposites; grounding and lift, ease and effort, opposing alignments. When all of these opposites are in balance, nestle into Warrior I for a full-body experience.

Warrior 1 Pose Benefits

  • Opens and stretches the front body and hips
  • Strengthens the core, legs, shoulders, arms, and back
  • Develops mental stamina and the ability to find ease in effort
  • Builds balance

How To Do The Warrior 1 Pose: Step-By-Step

warrior 1

How To Get There:

1. Begin standing in the center of your mat. Step your right foot four feet in front of you, your foot parallel to the sides of the mat, and your toes pointing to the top of the mat.

2. Bend your right knee into a lunge, with ankle stacked over heel. Your left leg should be straight behind you with the left foot turned in at approximately 45 degrees.

3. Raise both arms above your head, keeping them straight. Squeeze shoulder blades down and together, lifting your chin and gazing at your palms overhead.

4. Stay here for 2-4 deep breaths, then repeat on the left side.

Tips And Tricks:

  • It is common for yogis entering Warrior I to tip their pelvis forward, which compresses the lower back. To avoid this, focus on lifting your pubis towards your navel, lengthening your tailbone towards the earth.
  • It is common to find it difficult to lower the back heel all the way down to the ground. If this is the case, you are invited to keep the back heel slightly raised by resting it on a sand bag, book, or something of an appropriate height.

Warrior 1 pose variation: Warrior 1 Pose With a short stance

Come into Warrior I with a shorter stance for greater balance. This is also a great modification if your the standard wider Warrior I stance feels tight and uncomfortable to you.

In the shorter variation, make sure that your front knee is directly over your front ankle, not over it.

If this pose still feels uncomfortable, come onto your back toes, lifting your back heel as you would in a High Lunge pose.

Warrior 1 pose variation: Warrior 1 Pose With hands on hips

If you are experiencing limited mobility, injury, or pain in your shoulder joints, Warrior I can still be modified to suit you!

Instead of raising your arms above your head to come into prayer, you are invited to keep your arms parallel to each other. As another alternative, feel free to come into Warrior I with your hands resting on your hips for further shoulder support.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Knee, Hip, Back, Ankle Injuries:

If you suffer from an injury, or if you have recently had surgery in any of these areas, it may be best for you to not attempt Warrior I. That being said, listen to your body. If the asana feels good to you, enter with full awareness and exit the asana if you feel any pain.

Balancing Issues:

If you have notable balance issues, take extra precautions it this stability-demanding pose. Consider coming into Warrior I against a wall.

Preparatory Poses

Cow Face Pose

Mountain Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Pyramid Pose

Counter Poses

Standing Forward Bend

Downward Facing Dog

Child’s 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.

Maria Andrews

Maria Andrews

Maria Andrews is a 200h Registered Yoga Teacher, long distance runner, and adventure lover. She finds joy in learning, experiencing, and connecting.

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