We have all had our own experiences and feelings about the warrior series. Three challenging poses, sometimes combined with trikonasana, that are intended to help you build strength and focus. These poses are based in the martial arts, and while being some of the most frequently used poses in our yoga practices, they can also be the most challenging and uncomfortable poses for many of our students. For many of our Macomb County yoga students the warrior series makes more sense and is easier to work through when they have the full understanding of why we spend so much time with these three yoga poses.
Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I
Warrior I is intended to increase the flexibility in your hip flexors and strengthens your legs, ankles and feet. Though it feels incredibly challenging for many students, practicing warrior I will help you improve and feel stronger in other standing poses and hip openers. The gentle opening of the shoulders and spine in this pose is also wonderful for preparing your body for backbends. What makes this pose challenging is a matter of alignment. There are a lot of different parts of this pose that you have to focus on during your practice. Keeping your hips, shoulders, ankles, knees and hips in the right places, AND focusing on breathing can make this pose feel like a juggling act. In the traditions of yoga, this challenging pose is intended to challenge our ego, and help us build confidence, focus and courage.
Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II
While warrior I builds strength and flexibility, warrior II is intended to help us build not only strength but also balance and stability. The challenge in this pose is keeping the front knee in the proper position. The safest place for your knee to rest in warrior II is stacked over the ankle. Allowing the knee to turn inward toward the big toe or outward toward the pinky toe can cause stress and sometimes pain in the knee joint. This asana requires the effort of the whole body, even the parts that we cannot see, like the back arm and the outside edge of the back foot. These places are often forgotten, and can cause misalignment and instability in the pose.
Warrior III or Virabhadrasana III
Not only does this pose demand our students to focus deeply on balance, but it also requires a lot of focus on caring for the alignment of the leg supporting your weight. It’s important to keep your knee from locking while in this pose. Hyperextending or locking your knee joint is a good way to cause damage to knee ligaments and tendons. Warrior III helps you strengthen the small muscles in your feet and ankles which are important to helping you maintain balance in many other poses. You will find Warrior III much easier if you keep your core muscles engaged and your spine in a neutral position. Strength in your core, and the good focus built in Warrior III are essential for helping you be successful in more advanced poses like headstands and handstands.
While most students, even our most advanced Macomb County students, find the warrior series challenging from time to time, it is the challenge that makes the warrior series so useful for building a yoga practice. By building strength throughout the body and a need for strong mental focus, warrior poses are essential for growing in our yoga practices.
I Am Looking for the Best Yoga Studio in Macomb County!
If you are looking for a great local yoga studio near you, The Yoga Studio Downtown is Macomb County’s premier yoga studio. We love working with students of all skill levels, helping each achieve their goals. To learn more about our yoga classes, call us today at (586) 991-0760 or stop in to our studio, visit with our instructors and give a class a try.