Asana Basics: FeetUp Warrior 1
An incredibly powerful standing pose, Virabhadrasana (pronounced veer-AH-bah-dra-sanna) builds strength while developing flexibility and balance. Although FeetUp Warrior 1 may look simple from the outside, there are many angles and forces at play internally. Combined with the support of your FeetUp Trainer, this pose becomes much more manageable to enter into and enjoy for longer periods of time. With a little bit of patience and dedication, everyone has something to gain from embracing that warrior spirit!
Benefits of FeetUp Warrior 1
- Builds strength in the lower body (legs, feet, ankles)
- Opens up hips and shoulders
- Lengthens sidebody, back and neck
- Increases stamina for standing poses
- Develops balance
Precautions During Practice
- Recent or chronic injury to hips, knees, shoulders, or ankles.
- Neck and lower back (lumbar) issues. Modifications below!
Step by Step Entry Into FeetUp Warrior 1
- From Extended Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot to the outside edge of the FeetUp Trainer (or inside through the cushion, if that feels accessible).
- With hands on frame, adjust hips parallel to front edge of cushion. You may have to step the back foot slightly forward or out to the side for this to comfortably happen.
- Rotate back heel inward and ground down through outside edge. Maintain squared hips by adjusting hand position on frame or moving closer to / farther away from the Trainer.
- Stack front knee directly above heel by maintaining contact between calf and side edge of frame (or shin and cushion, depending on where you step).
- Raise shoulders above hips. Focus on that stacked front knee, squared off hip, and grounded back foot with lifted arch. Using front leg as a fixed point, make small adjustments to explore proper alignment.
- Raise arms overhead with a breath, palms facing inward. Keep the shoulders gently reaching down as the hands lift upward shoulder distance apart or more.
- Inhale long, exhale deep. You did it!
Focal Points for Alignment
- There are two distances to take into consideration for foot position: front to back (short ends of the mat) side to side (long edges). If you have tighter hips or lower back, start with a shorter distance front to back and a wider stance side to side.
- Focus on this pose from the ground up, setting up your legs and hips before raising the arms.
- Avoid arching the lower back or tilting the chest upwards. Keep the core engaged and its forward until you feel solid in your balance.
- Trouble grounding down through that back foot? Shorten your stance front to back even more and make sure your feet are at least hip distance wide apart.
Using Your FeetUp Trainer to Deepen the Pose
The trainer offers valuable alignment feedback with minimal effort.
As you start off, the frame offers more support to help step your foot forward with control and ease. Once there, the edge of the frame and cushion act as a guide to keep your knee above the ankle. This allows you to keep your head up and gaze forward while you make adjustments to your stance.
Squaring your hips off to the front edge of the cushion is a great way to focus on hip placement in relation to your feet.
Think about energetically connecting that open hip (the left one when the right foot is forward) to the front right corner of the trainer. Depending on how open your hips are, you can line up your back foot with various points of your FeetUp Trainer (center of the cushion, inside of the frame, outside of the legs).
Variation: Step the front foot through the center of the Trainer.
You can now use the inside edges of the cushion for more physical feedback to find alignment without having to look down!
How does FeetUp Warrior 1 feel in your body?
Did you come up with any helpful tips, tricks, or insight that would help others?
Share in the comments below!