Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Back to basics - Standing poses- Warrior 1

Warrior 1 strengthens the muscles of the legs, shoulders and back.  It is often used as a preparation for back bends as it stretches the chest, shoulders and psoas muscles.  

To come into the pose stand towards the back of the mat with your hands on your hips and your feet at hip distance.  Turn the toes of your left foot out as if to the 10 to position on a clock and step forward with your right foot. Inhale take the arms up, exhale bend the front knee. Gaze is straight ahead or if your neck allows up at the hands. To come out of the pose, exhale take your hands to your hips, inhale step your feet together. Repeat second side. Alternatively you can come into the pose from downward facing dog.  From downward facing dog, inhale and step the right foot three-quarters way forward, exhale lower your back heel, turning the toes of your left foot out. Inhale come up taking your arms up.  Hold and breathe.  When you are ready, exhale bring your hands down, step back to downward facing dog and repeat second side.

Common mistakes

  • Do not extend the front knee further than the ankle.  If this happens it is an indication that the legs need to be taken wider.  Alternatively the front knee may fall short of the ankle which indicates that you need to step the feet closer together.
  • If you cross the right foot over to the left as you step forward, you will find it difficult to balance - make sure that as you step forward your feet are still at hip distance.  
  • Your hips as far as is possible need to face the short edge of the mat.  With the right foot forward, the right hip will come forward so ease it back.  Do not force the hip back however as this will stain the SI joint.
  • There is a tendency for the shoulders to come up by the ears when the arms lift so ease the shoulders down.
  • The pelvis may tip forward in this pose, straining the lower back.  To correct this, ease the tail bone down towards the floor.
  • Do not allow the front knee to collapse inwards which strains the knee.  Press your knee towards the little toe side of your foot.
  • If you struggle to ground the back heel, try practicing with the back heel pressed up to a wall.

Please see the yoga video on my YouTube Channel-'Back to basics-Standing poses-
Warrior 1'-

Janet x

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