Director – Jack Burnford.
Benefits: Virabhadrasana I / Warrior 1 pose strengthens the legs, opens the chest and shoulders.
Contraindications (cautions): High blood pressure, those with shoulder problems should keep their raised arms parallel (or slightly wider than parallel) to each other. Those with neck problems should keep their head in a neutral position (variation to the pose is to look upwards).
Step by Step
1. From Tadasana, Mountain pose, inhale, step the feet wide apart, and bring your hands to your hips. Turn the whole right leg and foot out at 90 degrees so that the heel intersects the inner arch of the left foot. Turn the left foot and leg in about 45 degrees.
2. Turn the chest toward the left and square the hips by pressing your right hip well forward. Inhale, raise your arms above the head. Variation is to bring the palms of hands together.
3. Exhale as you bend the right knee, sinking down into the thigh and sitting bone. With your knee bent 90 degrees, it will be directly above and in line with the ankle hinge.
4. From your front leg, take your weight equally into the back leg. Press into the right heel, feeling the stretch along the back of the left leg.
5. Let the tailbone drop down toward the floor to open the front of the hips, the pelvic abdomen, and the front right thigh. This will also create space in the lumbar spine and help to lengthen the lower back.
6. Stay for 10 deep breaths. If your arms tire as they remain lifted, focus on your breath.
7. To release, inhale as you straighten the right leg. Lower your hands to hips, pivot feet back to the centre of the mat to a wide leg stance, then return to stand in Tadasana/Mountain pose. Repeat this pose for the same length of time on the other side.
8. Counterpose: Uttanasana/Restful Deep Forward Fold.