In anticipation of the upcoming Life Lab: Standing Poses Workshop on September 25th at 1pm, I wanted to bring a few tips forward for you all to consider in your own practice that you can take with you anywhere :)
Let your mat be your magic carpet to help you create a good foundation for sustainable Warrior I’s and II’s (Virabhadrasana I and II).
Using the centerline of your mat as a reference can be a helpful way of understanding how you are placing your feet that will then transfer energy efficiently up the legs into your pose from your ground.
As a start to understanding your relationship to your magic carpet, stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana ) at the top of your mat. With your feet hips-distance apart or together, find your own midline and sensitize yourself to the position of your feet. Have your toes a little closer than the heels to cultivate inward rotation of your thighs.
From Mountain Pose, you can step back into Warrior I or II. You can also step forward into Warrior I or II from Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). If from Downward Facing Dog, create the same position of the feet as in Mountain Pose.
One of the reasons that these two Warrior Poses are so difficult is because they are often treated the same when, in fact, to get the most energetic efficiency and sustainability out of each pose, the feet are positioned differently.
Looking at the width of the feet in Warrior I, notice that the feet are wider which allows more space for the hips to wrap forward. This wide position also helps you to ground in the outer edge of the back foot which is a key element to being able to draw energy up the leg and support lifting up and out of the pelvis with the spine. Warrior II being a narrower width accommodates the hips being more open sideward.
When viewing the Warriors from the side you can see why the poses emphatically must be different strides. The position of the hip joints where the thigh bone (femur) enters the pelvis for the back leg is forward in Warrior I and back in Warrior II. Therefore, Warrior I requires a shorter stride in order to remain integral. When these clear anatomical requirements are not met, the knee and ankle joints lose their ability to ground well and as a result, lose their ability to draw needed energy up from their ground to feed the pose.
Warrior I and II are complex poses that will never cease to be amazingly interesting and fulfilling. The above observations simply scratch the surface but hopefully will be of great benefit to you and your practice. More to come in the Yoga Tips/Mat Logic future posts and also in the Workshop on the 25th of this month :)
Many Grateful thanks to our model: Yogi Bianca Bianchi