Reversing your Warrior in life by learning to go with the flow…

Viparita Virbhadrasana (Sanskrit) Reverse Warrior Pose

Classification: Assymetrical standing backward-bending  pose

Benefits:

• strengthens and stretches the legs, groins, hips, and the sides of the torso and waist

•  It improves flexibility in the spine, inner thighs, ankles, and chest

•  It also builds strength in the thighs, shoulders, and arms

Breathing- encourages deeper breath connection. Warrior poses create interesting  parameters for exploring the breath mechanics, due to the lunging action that awakes a need to articulate and keep foundation for the lower body to support (sthira) while the breath move freely (sukha) in the upper body.

First connect with your Ujjayi breath (mouth closed, tip of your tongue touching the roof of your mouth, inhaling and exhaling with your nose)  

Getting to the pose:

1.  From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), standing with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides. Turn to the left and step your feet wide apart, about 4-5 feet. (Align your heels)

2.  Turn your right foot out 90 degrees, so your toes are pointing to the top of the mat. Pivot your left foot slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45-degree angle. Raise your arms to the side to shoulder-height, parallel to the floor (arms should be aligned directly over your legs.With your palms facing down, reach actively from fingertip to fingertip.

3. Exhale as you bend your front knee. Keep your knee parallel to your front knee as well as your front shin perpendicular to the floor. Sink your hips low, eventually bringing your front thigh parallel to the floor. 

4.  After getting to your Warrior II (as base) on your next exhalation, drop your left (back) hand to the back of your left thigh. On an inhalation, lift your right arm straight up, reaching your fingertips toward the ceiling. (Your right bicep should be next to your right ear) Keep your front knee bent and your hips sinking low as you lengthen through the sides of your waist, then slide your back hand further down your leg and come into a slight backbend.Tilt your head slightly and bring your gaze to your right hand’s fingertips.

.Hold for 5-10 breaths.

Transitioning out:

Inhale as you lower your arms back into Warrior II. Press down through your back foot and straighten your front leg. Lower your arms all the way. Turn to the left, reversing the position of your feet, and repeat for the same length of time on the opposite side.

Modifications & Variations

Reverse Warrior is a great way to add flexibility to the spine and prepare the body for many other poses throughout your practice. Take it slowly without pushing your body to achieve a deeper backbend. 

When hips are tight, just shorten stance and straighten the front leg to a degree that is comfortable as you work on gaining flexibility.
Caution:

If you have a shoulder injury or if you are still building upper body strength, place your hands on your hips.

 Work on lifting your chest and lengthening your spine without over-straining your arms and shoulders.

Tips

To correctly practice Reverse Warrior, it’s important to stay focused on the various points of alignment. 

Build the pose from the ground up, is like when you build your house on a rock. Work on getting the feet and leg placements first. 

Make sure your front knee stays aligned with your front ankle. 

Never allow the knee to drift to the inside — as it can strain the knee joint.

 Instead, imagine it slightly moving out toward the baby toe.

Keep your front shin vertical. Widen your stance as needed to make sure that your knee does not move forward past your ankle.

Press down through the outer edge of your back foot, and keep your back leg straight.

Emotional Focus of this Asana (pose) 

Dancing with Your Warrior

Reverse Warrior is part of the Dancing Warrior sequence that helps the practicioner recall that sometimes in life you just have to go with the flow with ease and grace. To have that Keen eye to identify, when is time to back off.

Backing off is not lack of courage…it is actually being smarter. You are better winner in life when lack of options strike…when you recover, rejuvenate and re-engage get better chance to rise higher than a phoenix, without blowing out ashes so you might want to…

“Pick your battles carefully” -Sun Tzu

Namaste

Author:

Glenda Lee Santos; Humble Military and Yoga Warrior; RYT-200 hrs; Criminal Justice, BA; Holistic Practitioner with Foundation in Yoga and Ayurveda.

Courtesy of Semperlee Yoga Corp.

References:

Yoga Anatomy/ Leslie Karminoff , Amy Mathews (2nd ed.)2012.

Journey Into Power/ Baron Baptiste ( Fireside ed. )

Smithsonian Human, The Definitive Visual Guide/Robert Winston, Dr. Don E Wilson