Warrior I & II have been two of the most challenging standing postures for me, both physically and mentally. Warrior I in particular is hard to get into; seriously, how do I square my hips in this pose? I also find both Warrior I & II difficult to hold without letting my mind wander. However, with enough practice, I’ve found these two warrior poses a key part of my yoga practice for 5 notable reasons:
- Warrior poses improve balance and coordination
The practice of staying grounded increases awareness of the body in space. Ultimately, these standing poses encourage moving with ease and integrity. With better balance and body awareness, Warrior poses help decrease the risk of injury as as result of trips and falls.
- Warrior poses promote full-body strength building
Isometric strengthening is the method of physical training wherein muscles contract without changing joint position. In the context of yoga, standing static holds are an example of isometric engagement. Benefits of isometric exercise includes, increased strength around the joints and increased muscular endurance. In particular, Warriors I & II, are the most beneficial when the lower body, torso and upper body engage against the resistance of gravity and opposing energies (head to toe, finger tip to finger tip as in Warrior II).
- Warrior holds are rationale for perpetual change
Yoga teaches that change is life’s only constant. Holding standing poses offers a chance to feel the fluctuations of the external world and the mind’s turnings. By grounding through the feet and clearing the mind with steady breath, the opportunity arises to tune in to the micro movements the body makes to steady itself. Ultimately, this connection speaks to the ever-changing physical aspect of living on a planet that rotates within a rhythmic universe.
- Warriors promote the mind/body connection
I notice that when I am asked to hold any standing pose for a while my mind starts to wander. When I catch myself drifting away, that is when the work of the Warrior begins. Bringing attention back to the breath and staying curious with the sensations of the body help the mind quiet. In this quiet stillness, yoga offers an opportunity to connect deeply with the self.
- Warrior poses build courage
Physical strength cultivated by Warrior poses, combined with a loving connection to the self in the midst of constant change is empowering. Acknowledging the self with equanimity and compassion yields an intimate quality that comes from the heart, courage.
This post was written by Mary Smith. Mary is a 200-hr. Vinyasa yoga teacher with over ten years of teaching experience and teaches Yoga and Power Plate classes at Symmetry.
Mary is currently offering our first ever Yoga workshop series: Elements of Yoga, a five-part series for all levels.
The second workshop in the series is: Stand Strong: Warrior Poses and Standing Balances and will take place on Saturday October 13th 1:30-3:30pm.
Sign up here!