Yoga Asanas

Warrior I Pose - Virabhadrasana I

Posted on 2019-01-30

There are three variations of the Warrior pose. These are named for a famous warrior, Virabhdra. Some people are confused by this because they believe that yogis follow a path of passivism.

They are right in thinking that, but we should also remember that the Bhagavad-Gita was the dialog used by two warriors – Arjuna and Krishna. They were facing off on the battlefield, so the title of the pose is a lot more relevant than you might realize.

These days, the war being waged is a spiritual one. The idea is that we are spiritual warriors fighting the battle against self-ignorance.

Step by Step

Step 1

Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Keeping your right foot where it is, step your left foot back about 40 inches. Lift your arms so that they are parallel to one another and turn your chest to face forward toward the top of the mat (a slight twist from the spine)

Make sure that you stretch out with the sides of your body, lifting your shoulder blades up halfway to use the strength of your scapula. 

Step 2

Angle the left foot between 45 and 60 degrees out to the right. Your right foot points forward. The heels are somewhere hip-width distance apart. On the exhale, turn your upper body to the right and try to line up the pelvis with your mat’s edge.

Lengthen your spine and arch the upper body slightly.

Step 3

Make sure that your left heel is flat on the floor. On the exhale, bend the right knee until the shin is at a ninety-degree angle to the floor.

Step 4

Reach using your arms, ensuring that the ribcage lifts off the pelvis. If you can, put the palms together. Make sure that your head remains in a neutral position and look forward.

Step 5

Hold this position for up to a minute. On the inhale, press your back heel down and straighten your knee. Return your feet to the starting position and let your arms relax. Repeat the pose using the other foot. When you’re done, return to the Mountain Pose.

Modifications of the Virabhadrasana I

It might be challenging to keep your back heel flat against the floor or to lengthen out your lower back when you’re beginning. You can modify this pose to make it easier by lifting your back heel to close the gap.

Preparatory Poses

  • Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

  • Gomukhasana

  • Parivrtta Trikonasana

  • Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Supta Virasana

  • Supta Padangusthasana

  • Supta Baddha Konasana

  • Utthita Parsvakonasana

  • Virasana

  • Virabhadrasana II

  • Vrksasana

Follow Up Poses

Benefits of the Virabhadrasana I

This pose stretches out the following areas:

  • Lungs

  • Chest

  • Neck

  • Shoulders

  • Groin

  • Belly

  • Ankles

  • Calves

  • Thighs

It strengthens the following areas:

  • Back

  • Arms

  • Shoulders

  • Ankles

  • Calves

  • Thighs

Variations of the Virabhadrasana I

There are several variations based on the position of the arms. You’ll see our step by step walkthrough below. To vary the movement, perform steps 1, 2, and 3 as usual. Now that you’ve bent your knee swing your arms behind you and clasp your hands together.

You should stretch your hands away from your back, and raise your chest. You can squeeze together your shoulder blades, but you must also be sure to push them away from your spine. Bring your arms back to the start position, and then straighten up.

Pose Type


Beginner Tips

When performing this pose, be careful to ensure that your pelvis is not tipping forward, which will compress your lower back. When you’re moving into the knee bend, make sure that your pubis is lifted towards your navel and that your tailbone is lengthened. Also, keep an eye on the front knee from dipping in, Try to keep it over heel in the middle of the foot.

Where to Start 

With one of our best online yoga programs, Ashtanga Fundamentals or Yoga for beginners

Previous Guru - Teacher
Next The 8 Limbs Of Yoga Explained

Comment / read all comments