How To Be A Warrior, Not A Worrier
Build strength and confidence into your life with this simple yoga sequence.
Do you ever struggle with self doubt, or suffer from anxiety? Do you have a hard time making decisions or often trust the wrong people? If practiced consistently and with intention, a Warrior sequence can help you conquer low self-esteem issues.
The poses Warrior I, II, and III are explored in almost every yoga class, in one form or another. They originated from the ancient Hindu legend of Virabhadra, a spiritual warrior, and represent him in different stages of battle.
These asanas can be built into the beginning or the middle of a sequence, and can be done either independently or used to lead into other strengthening and balancing movements.
The unique history of these poses combined with today’s yoga practice can help you learn how to embrace your spiritual warrior and build confidence, both on and off the mat, when practiced on a regular basis.
How to practice this sequence
You can move through the entire Warrior sequence fluidly or hold each pose for about 30 seconds.
Do whatever feels best for you.
Repeat each pose for the same amount of time on each side.
Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
This represents Virabhadra coming to existence and bursting up from the earth.
Practice Warrior I to find your grounding in life and to feel your strength. This pose will help you work through any underlying insecurities you may have, and harness courage.
From Mountain Pose (Tadasana), step your left foot back and place it down at about a 45 degree angle. Make sure all four corners of your back foot are rooted down. Hips stay square to the front of the mat. Bend your right knee directly over your toes, keeping it aligned over your ankle at a 90 degree angle, and lift your arms up over your head. Keep your spine straight and ribs in.
Make any adjustments that you have to, so that you find comfort and strength here while protecting your knees and ankles.
As you bend your front knee a little deeper, manage your negative thoughts by naming some positive things about yourself. Identify what you have to offer to this world. In this pose, connect with your foundation and root through your feet. Feel strong, as if you were preparing for battle — just like a spiritual warrior.
Warrior I energizes the entire body. It stretches the groin, ankles and belly, helps to open the hips, and strengthens the legs, arms and shoulders. It will activate your root (Muladhara) chakra, which is the first chakra, located at the base of the spine. It is connected to your foundation and represents stability.
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
This represents Virabhadra armoring himself with his sword as he spots his target.
Practicing this pose can help you build the confidence you need to overcome whatever challenges you have in life.
From Warrior I, open up your back foot to a 90 degree angle, so it points to the side of the room, and turn your chest to face the same direction. Take a wider stance here if you’d like, aligning the heels with one another.
Shoulders are strong and away from your ears as you reach your arms out to the sides. Keep the front knee bent. Bring your gaze over your right middle finger.
Take the initial strength from your Warrior I pose and feel strong and confident in Warrior II. Reach your arms out to opposite sides of the rooms and expand through the chest. Lift from the lower belly to keep the spine straight. Engage the muscles of the pelvic floor to ground the pose. Sink your hips down a little bit lower while being mindful of your stance. Keep the gaze soft but sturdy.
Warrior II opens up your chest and lungs and continues to engage your legs, feet and ankles, and stretches the hips.
Warrior II will help ignite your navel (Manipura) chakra, located between the navel and the base of the sternum. The navel chakra is the center of one’s self-esteem, helping you set boundaries and listen to your intuition — all the armor you need to succeed in life.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
This represents Virabhadra striking forward with his sword to kill target.
Practicing this pose strengthens the legs, ankles, back and abdomen and improves balance and concentration.
Bring yourself back to Warrior I and begin to hinge your torso forward. Keep the belly in and hover over your still bent right knee. Reach the arms forward. The crown of the head is also reaching forward as you push off your right leg, straightening it a little bit, and lifting the back leg up.
Keep your hips facing down, parallel to the mat. Remember that it doesn’t matter how far your leg is lifted up off the ground, but keeping the spine straight, try to work on lifting it up to hip level. Relax through the neck. If you’re having trouble with balance, try placing your hands on a chair or the wall.
While here, think about being engaged in battle. Move with intention; slow, steady and strong.
This is a very powerful pose and gives you the opportunity to simultaneously engage both your root and navel chakra.
Rooting down on one leg will help you understand that even when things feel unstable that you can still stay grounded, and will become stronger because of it. Engaging the abdomen and navel chakra while reaching your arms forward can help build assertiveness, decisiveness and confidence into your character.
Remember that you are strong, prepared, and perfect just the way you are. Embrace your inner Warrior.