Reverse Warrior is a powerful standing pose that stretches your hips and groins, while lengthening your spinal and intercostal muscles. The posture also helps blood circulation, reduce stress, mitigate back pain and can be a mood-booster.
Named after the Hindu warrior, Virabhadra, an incarnation of the Lord Shiva, Reverse Warrior pose stands for resilience and dispelling of negative energies.
In a broader sense, Reverse Warrior is a graceful gesture of strength. The pose asks us to create a stable foundation through our feet while reaching up and overhead and leaning the torso back. Without grounding down, our balance can get thrown off or we might not be able to achieve full form.
Reverse Warrior pose is widely encountered in hatha or vinyasa classes. While it is typically incorporated as part of a warrior series flow, it helps to take a closer look at this standing pose on its own. Doing so allows us to make subtle physical adjustments and truly be present in the posture.
While practicing Reverse Warrior has many benefits, it should be avoided or practiced moderately when experiencing neck, spinal or shoulder pain. As always, be mindful of entering and exiting the pose with attention to breath and body.
- From a standing position step your feet 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Turn your right foot to the right 90 degrees and keep your left foot pointing forward.
- Bend your right knee until your right thigh bone is parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee stacked directly above your right ankle. Keep your right knee from collapsing inward by pressing it slightly to the right so you can stretch your right inner thigh and groin muscles.
- Raise your arms out to the side to shoulder height. Turn your palms to face the floor. Lengthen your spine and lift your chest.
- Flip your right palm over to face the ceiling, and raise your right arm up overhead and begin to reach up and back. Place your left hand gently on the outside of your left leg. Keep both hips and shoulders square to left so that you can achieve a side bend. Continue to maintain the lunge in your front leg as you reach up and back into a side bend position.
- Look straight up at the ceiling, or you may look down towards the floor for a neck stretch.
- Hold for 30 to 45 seconds while breathing deeply. To release, bring your hands to your hips and straighten your front leg. Repeat on the other side.
This sense of grounding down and opening the heart can be related back in our daily lives. We are reminded to stay rooted in our beliefs but find strength to push through when stuck in a rut or are face with difficult choices and challenges. Plus, side body opening and breathing always feels good. Tune into your breath, try practicing this pose today and your body will thank you!