Move into Reverse Warrior, Viparita Virabhadrasana, in order to build strength and determination in the body and in the mind. The benefits of the pose include building strength in the legs, arms and neck, while stretching the groins, hips and oblique muscles. Reverse Warrior creates opening in the areas of the shoulders and in the chest, and it encourages good posture and confidence. We use our breath in yoga to “balance out” a challenging posture like Reverse Warrior, in order to find the balance of ease and effort within the pose.
To do the posture: Come into Warrior II Pose, Virabhadrasana II. Bring the feet 3 ½ to 4 feet apart. Bring the right foot facing forward and step the back foot facing out. Ideally, the front heel will line-up with the arch of the back foot. Bring the palms to the sides of the body like wings, facing down.
Take an inhale breath, fill up the lungs and chest, and on an exhale, bend the right knee up to a 90 degree angle. Align the right knee over the ankle. If the knee extends past the ankle, toe/heel the foot forward to achieve a “wider stance.” The front leg has an external rotation (the inner thigh is spiraling outward) and the back leg has an internal rotation (the inner thigh is spiraling inward). Press evenly into both feet and lift the inner arches of the feet. The shoulders stay aligned over the hips rather than reaching the torso forward or backwards at this point.
Arms are actively reaching away from each other and the shoulders and jaw stay relaxed. Draw the low-belly inward towards the spine and extend the tailbone downward towards the ground. Continue to breathe and create smooth and long inhales and exhales.
To move into Reverse Warrior: Keep the lower body the same, and on an inhale breath, bring the left arm down and the right arm high. Look down at the front knee. If the front knee has shifted inward, press it back outward to align over the front knee, creating the same external rotation as Warrior II Pose. Bend the knee back up to a 90 degree angle.
Notice and enjoy the stretch on the right side of the torso. Press into the knife edge of the back foot to stabilize the posture. The back leg is strong and straight. Continue lifting through the right fingertips, creating more length from the hip joint and out through the fingers. Relax the right shoulder down away from the ear. Look up at the thumb if it feels okay on the neck. Continue to breathe here for 3 to 5 full-rounds of breath, creating long and smooth inhales and exhales.
To come out of the pose: Take an inhale breath and rise back up into Warrior II. Straighten the front knee and come out. Repeat the same pose on the opposite side in order to build balance in the body.
Notice how you feel after coming out of the pose. You may feel invigorated and confident. Move into your day with a little more bounce in your step, feeling “lighter”, and feeling confident and with good posture.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga
In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mounts streets. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve your body. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. IRY offers regularly scheduled classes on, Sat., Sun. and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule and instructors.