Standing Poses

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)

Level: All levels
Category: Standing Pose, Backward Extension, Twist

Vira = hero. Virabhadra = the name of a warrior who was created by the Hindu god Shiva, lord of destruction and patron of yogis, out of a clump of his own hair.

Organizing the pose

    Virabhadrasana I Preparation (Warrior Pose I)
    • Come into Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
    • Bring the arms up alongside the ears into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose).
    • Either keep the palms shoulder width, or, for a greater challenge and the classic pose, bring the hands together.
    • Inhale and step the feet apart into a wide Utthita Hasta Padasana (Extended Hands and Feet Pose).
    • Exhale and turn the trunk – hips and pelvis included – to face out over the front leg.
    • Inhale a breath. Exhale and bend the right leg at the hip and ankle and take the thigh out so that shin and thigh make a 90° angle. The thigh bone should be parallel to the floor and the shin should be vertical. Do not take the knee past the ankle, as this puts undue pressure on the joint.
    • Look up at the raised thumbs for the classic pose. If this is hard on the neck, keep looking forward.
    • Hold the position for several breaths.
    • Inhale and come back up out of the pose, keeping the arms lifted, and return to face center.
    • Repeat on the second side.

Practice Points

    • Ground down through the big toe mound of the front foot and draw the shin up.
    • Reach the front thigh forward out of the hip.
    • Extend the back leg away from the front and press into the back heel.
    • Reach the tailbone forward towards the front knee and broaden the lower back.
    • Broaden the back ribs and turn them to make the trunk even.
    • Turn the chest and collarbones up towards the ceiling.
    • Reach both arms up towards the ceiling.
    • Soften the neck and the shoulders.


    To focus on the legs and trunk and to relieve the shoulders and neck, do the pose with the hands on the hips. Press the elbows in towards each other behind the back to help activate the sides of the trunk.