Years ago one of my students complained that she didn’t like practicing the warrior poses because she didn’t want to develop an aggressive nature. Since then I always stress to people that the point of the warrior positions (there are 3 of them) isn’t to encourage you to go around beating up little old ladies but to help you conquer your inner brat. Because as well as developing physical strength and stamina, these positions help you to develop courage, confidence and determination: qualities that help you defeat your lower nature and become a more whole human being.

That said, although Warrior I is doable for total beginners of Yoga, it is nevertheless, a demanding posture which exercises all the muscles and joints of the body. So, only practice it when your energy levels are good. Also for this reason only do the pose twice a week at the most. In the beginning, only practice the leg movements adding in the arm movements when your stamina improves. This is quite a technical position and it will take some time to learn fully. Don’t get impatient with it but try and learn one new thing about the pose each time you practice it. You can do without the wall when you are confident in the position.

How to practice Warrior Pose I:

  • Stand in Mountain Pose with your back against a wall. Inhale, exhale and take your feet apart. The distance should be more than the length of one of your legs.
  • Inhale, exhale, and turn your right foot 90 degrees out to the right and the left foot slightly inwards (about 45 degrees). Check that the heels of both feet are in line.
  • Inhale, exhale, and take the arms out to the sides in line with the shoulders , palms facing the floor. Keep the right buttock, the upper back, the backs of the hands and the back of the head in contact with the wall.
  • Inhale, exhale, and slowly begin to bend the right knee. Continue gradually bending the knee over the course of a few breaths until the back of the knee is in line with the heel. Do not let the knee go further than this line.
  • Hold the pose for up to 6 breaths. As you inhale, lift your abdomen away from the tops of the thighs. As you exhale, keep the tailbone moving down towards the backs of the knees and the right knee moving towards the little toe of the right foot.
  • Also check that you feel a stretch (a nice one!) in 3 areas – across the chest, across the front of the pelvis and along the right inner thigh.
  • Keep the shoulders relaxed down but keep the sternum lifted upwards.
  • Look straight ahead, then look about 2 inches below nose-level.
  • Act like a warrior about to throw a spear. Think strong, focused, decisive.
  • Inhale, straighten the knee and come back to Mountain Pose again. Repeat on the other side. Repeat x2

NEED HELP? If you find the pose too strenuous, keep the distance between the feet narrow. Work on the leg movements only until you get stronger.

STOP! DO NOT take your arms to shoulder height if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems. Place your hands on your hips instead.

~Be very careful if you have knee problems. If possible, have someone support the bent knee as you practice the pose.