Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New to Yoga Series: Warrior Poses

The warrior poses are a sequence of poses that really focus on the front of the body, the shoulders, and the sides. I like them because just like the name suggests, they are poses that put you in positions of strength. Most people like to do the warrior sequence a few times during their sessions to focus on balance as well. Here are some tips on how to do these poses:

Warrior 1

You can come into this pose from the downward facing dog, the lunge, or the forward fold. 
  • Place one foot in front, and the other behind you.
  • Bend your front knee about 90 degrees and keep your back leg straight. 
  • Turn your back foot so that it is anywhere from 45 to 90 degrees out, but keep a straight line from your front heel to your back heel. 
  • Lift your arms up (shoulder down always) and you can try to look up if you can (without straining your neck). 
  • Twist your waist so that you are facing forward over your front knee. This is hard because your body has the tendency to turn to one side. 
  • Make sure your back foot is planted on the mat. If this is difficult, it just means your hip muscles are a little tight. Bring your back leg forward a bit.

Warrior 2

Start with your legs in the same position as the Warrior 1 (front knee bent and back foot at an angle and in line with front heel). 
  • Stretch your arms to the left and the right and look over your forward fingers. Stretch your arms, not your shoulders. See how my shoulders are down? 
  • Try to tuck your pelvis in so your back isn't curved. 
  • Keep your back leg straight and plant your back heel into the mat.
  • If you feel you can go lower in the pose, sink deeper without moving your knee forward.

Warrior 3

The last pose in the warrior series. Don't be scared off by the balance required from the photo above. There are ways to ease in to the pose, and then get better over time. 
  • From Warrior 1, put your weight in your front foot, and stay just on the toes of your back foot. 
  • Without lifting your back foot completely off the ground, lean forward with your arms outstretched to put even more weight on the front foot. 
  • Start lifting the back foot slowly. The first few times, you may need to lift and tap back down on the floor until you get your balance. And if it doesn't happen for a while, this is completely okay. 
  • Stretch the upper body forward and the lower body backward.
  • Remember, shoulders rolled back and down ALWAYS!

I really want you to remember something as you do these poses. If your pose does not look exactly the same way another person's does, or if it takes you a while to get your balance, it is okay! Yoga is about celebrating where your body is today. Most of the people you see that are more flexible than others may have been practicing for years or may just have more natural flexibility and strength. All our bodies are different.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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