Reverse Warrior Pose

Yoga Poses

Reverse Warrior Pose Viparita Virabhadrasana

Steps

Warrior pose is a favourite with most practitioners, and a simple variation of this is the reverse warrior pose. This gentle posture is also sometimes known as ‘peaceful warrior’ pose stretches the hips and legs while opening up the chest.

Begin in tall mountain (tadasana). Jump or step the feet wide apart. Turn the right foot out 90° and the left foot in 45°. Raise the arms to shoulders height as for Warrior II. Bend the right knee. Bring the left hand on the left back thigh. Raise the right arm, near to the left ear with the fingertips pointing to the sky, arch the back, eye gaze towards the fingertips.  To exit the pose,  inhale and return arms to shoulders height, Warrior II position. Step back to Tadasana, Repeat other side.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Reverse Warrior is most often used as part of a flow sequence called Dancing Warrior.  The focus is on flow, moving with grace and ease from one pose to the other. While feeling the strength and grounding your feet firmly on the mat, it is important to visualise your chest opening up gracefully in this pose. Feel your feet rooted to while generously stretching either arm to open up the sides as well.

Technical Comments

To stabilise the legs and protect the knee, position the feet, so the heels are aligned. Ground big toe of front foot and the out edge of back foot. Take care to bend the knee at a 90° angle (with knee over the ankle).  Hips should be square (line up knee, hips and belly button) Inhale when raising the arms, exhale into the backbend. Lift heart and gaze skyward.

Benefit Comments

  • Strengthens ankles, legs and thighs
  • Tones hips, waist and upper arms
  • Stretches side chest, waist and abdomen
  • Improves respiration and reduces fatigue
  • Increases flexibility of back and spine
  • Calms and balances the nervous system

Watch Out For:

  • Knees (misaligned, turning in or out)
  • Compression of lower spine
  • Tight shoulders
  • Twisting hips

Contraindications

  • Knee and back injuries

Modifications

  • Shorten stance of legs to take pressure off knees
  • Lift chest to take pressure off lower back or bend back only slightly
  • In place of raised arms, rest hands on hips
  • Turn back foot in more or our to accommodate tight hips

Variations

  • Place arms in eagle or cow pose
  • Include as part of a flowing sequence of Warrior poses

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
  • Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
  • Triangle pose (Trikonasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher and journalist. https://www.facebook.com/brendahamletyoga/

Return to Yoga Pose Directory