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Move with Ease
Stand with one foot a comfortable distance forward, and your back foot at a slight angle to the front (45 degrees or less). Your hips and shoulders face forward. On an inhalation, bend your front knee, placing your chest slightly ahead of your pelvis as you arch your back, and lift your arms. On an exhalation, straighten your front knee and lower your arms, moving back to the starting position.
KEEP YOUR CHIN LEVEL
So you avoid compression in your neck.
BRING YOUR CHEST SLIGHTLY PAST YOUR PELVIS
So you avoid compression in your low back.
KEEP YOUR KNEE OVER YOUR ANKLE
Make sure to protect your joints; don’t let your knee move past your ankle.
See also Warrior I Pose
Virabhadrasana I Adaptations
This adaptation turns the posture into a nyasa, or a gesture like a prayer. Inhale and bend your front knee, sweeping your arms wide and up. Exhale, moving your hands toward the top of your head, in front of your face, and then bring them to rest at your heart. Repeat 2-3 times. Exhale back to a starting position. Repeat on the other side.
This adaptation emphasizes stretching your psoas muscle. Inhale and bend your front knee, lifting the opposite arm up and back. Stay for a few breaths, arching your upper back and bringing the raised arm farther up and back on successive inhalations. Exhale and straighten your front knee and lower your arms. Repeat on the other side.
This adaptation is for working with an excessive or flattened thoracic kyphosis. It also strengthens and stretches your rhomboid muscles and stretches your intercostal muscles.
A Inhale and bend your front knee, arms open wide at shoulder level.
See also Watch + Learn: Warrior I Pose
B Exhale and bring your hands to opposite shoulders, like you are hugging yourself. Repeat 2-3 times. Exhale back to a starting position. Repeat on the other side.
About our Author
Yoga therapist Gary Kraftsow evolved this approach to yoga from the teachings transmitted by T. Krishnamacharya and T.K.V. Desikachar of Madras, India. Gary is the director and senior teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute; the author of two books: Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation, four DVDs, and several online workshops, including Pranayama Unlocked, Meditation Unlocked, Yoga Therapy for Depression, Yoga Therapy for Better Sleep, Yoga Therapy for Anxiety, and Asana Unlocked. Learn more at viniyoga.com.
About our Model
Model Evan Soroka is a Viniyoga therapist in Aspen, Colorado. Learn more at evansoroka.com.