This pose is part of an epic trilogy of poses.
The origin pose is a good starter for beginners to get their teeth into. The climax being a test of strength across the body, as well as balance.
The sequel before it? Possibly the most popular pose of the trilogy.
I’m talking, of course, about Warrior 2.
The mistake I made when I thought yoga was just about replicating shapes, was thinking that this is a relaxed pose. You can stand in a lunge with arms out easy.
The beauty comes in when you stay active in the pose. It becomes much tougher then and you will get heaps more benefit from it from being active and not passive.
First, let’s take a look at the areas of the body affected by this awesome pose.
It’s a great stamina builder and targets more than just the muscles by affecting the nerves that run from your neck and down your arms.
Ligaments in the hip
It’s important to get the full benefit to focus your gaze on the fingertips of your front arm. This way, the stretch will be felt in the neck. It’s a subtle hold but when I struggled to keep still, I’d look around the room and take my neck out of this position. The stretch in the neck is essential for the SCM muscle but also for the nerves.
What are the benefits of the pose?
Increased stamina, especially in the muscles and not just the heart
Opens up the hips
Stretches the groin
Increases strength and stretches the shoulders
Good for back pain
Limitations that could hold you back
If you are having trouble in the neck, this might not be the best pose for you. Raising your arms seems to make the stretch more intense than, say, arms by your side and turning your head.
Ankles may also hold you back if you’re experiencing pain, especially in the back leg, where there is adduction.
Steps and variations toward reclining hero
From a standing position, step your right leg forward about 3-4 feet away from your back leg.
Turn your back foot so its 90 degrees, lining your left heel to be inline with the right. Bend your front knee so it’s stacked over the right ankle, pushing firmly into the ground with your front foot.
Keeping your torso long and upright, legs in position and tailbone tucked, inhale and lift your straight arms up inline with your shoulders, so you have one long line from fingertips to fingertips.
Turn your head so you are gazing at your front fingertips. Imagine you are being pulled in opposite directions on each hand to create those active shoulders. Bring your shoulder blades down firmly onto your back
Hold for a minute or longer, depending on your level.
To come out, inhale and push back with your front foot, arms come down to a standing pose. Repeat on opposite side.
Checks to be aware of are in your feet, legs, torso and shoulders.
Feet - Push into your back foot with the outside edge of your foot for increased stability. In the front foot, think about the outside of your foot aswell to avoid the foot collapsing into the arch
Legs - Ensure the front knee doesn’t collapse inwards. Make sure you have this stacked over the front foot. Keep your back leg long and increase engagement by pushing the outside of the foot into the ground and keeping your leg straight.
Torso - Keep it upright and don’t lean. The torso itself should be following the same direction of the legs, shoulder to shoulder.
Shoulders - Keeping the shoulders inline with the direction of your legs will inform proper torso alignment. Don’t let your arms drop and remain active in the shoulders by pulling your arms apart.
How to make it more challenging
You could make this more challenging by taking a wider stance with your legs and turning your palms and elbows up to the sky.
Give this a go and let me know if you feel like a warrior!
In a bit.