What are the benefits of Warrior 1 pose in Yoga?

Warrior 1 (or Virabhadrasana) is one of the most-practised yoga poses. It is easier than the more advanced asanas but still builds strength, confidence and bodily awareness. The Warrior 1 pose is often used as a warm-up in yoga class or as part of the Sun Salutation series.

The name Virabhadrasana comes from a great warrior hero in Indian mythology, Virbhadra, who had a fearsome appearance with a thousand heads, eyes and feet. It is said that he symbolises our inner ability to overcome ego and ignorance.

How can we perform something called “Warrior” pose in such a peaceful activity? If you trace yoga back to the Bhagavad Gita, it was a conversation between two beings on a battlefield. Today, this battlefield represents life and the beings are our physical and spiritual selves trying to find balance.

What is the Warrior 1 pose?

The Warrior 1 is a beginner-level pose where you stand in a lunge-like position with one of your knees bent at 90 degrees and the other leg fully extended behind you. You then turn the heel of your bent leg down and angle your toes forward 75 degrees. Lastly, you lift your chest and raise your arms above you.

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There are many physical, mental and emotional benefits to Warrior 1 pose:

Physical

The  pose can increase your lung capacity and function. It syncs with the diaphragm and stretches the lungs while promoting abdominal. Increased capacity of your lungs improves blood and oxygen flow.

The pose works on the muscles of the shoulders, arms and back. Warrior 1 is instrumental in strengthening them. It creates good posture, helps you lift things and also improves your grip.

By strengthening your thighs, knees and ankles, the Warrior 1 pose reduces the risk of you sustaining an injury and assist with maximising your athletic performance.

Warrior 1 also improves your sense of balance, which helps prevent falls and assist you with gaining stability, maintaining a good spatial orientation, as well as your flexibility.

Mental

In yoga, Warrior 1 teaches you body awareness by developing your sense of connection with your physical self.

It significantly alters your brain chemicals and hormones to make you experience peacefulness. It also supports your parasympathetic nervous system and creates higher mental resistance when you experience conflict.

Emotional

By opening the chest, the Warrior 1 pose opens your heart and develops your courage. The powerful stance helps you gain inner strength and courage while letting you open up to yourself and others.

The physical, mental as well as emotional benefits of the Warrior 1 pose all contribute to a healthy well-being and the physical, mental and spiritual connection that Yoga promises. Once you have reaped all the benefits of Warrior 1 pose, you can advance to the Warrior 2 and 3 poses, which are a little more advanced and offer their own set of benefits.

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