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The 5 Warrior Poses: Power Yoga to Build Strength and Stability

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

Learn about the five warrior poses, why they are beneficial and how to do them safely to tone muscles and increase mobility.

The “warrior” poses include five powerful, energizing and grounding postures that build strength and heat. They help me find balance so that I can face unexpected challenges with a sense of steadiness and ease.

I often incorporate warrior poses in my hatha and vinyasa yoga classes. They can be done in a sequence or independently to strengthen and lengthen the muscles in your arms, shoulders, core and legs. Energetically, they activate and balance your root (muladhara) chakra to cultivate a sense of stability and contentment.

Ready to give them a try? Start by warming up with sun salutations. Then, play the short video below to flow through each of the warrior poses. Make sure you are cleared by a doctor before exercising, especially if you have high blood pressure or are experiencing injuries in the legs, knees, hips or shoulders.

If you want to read about each of the five poses in more detail and try them individually, here is a step-by-step guide based on the sequence in the video.

Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana I):

  • Begin in downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) with your spine long and your hips lifting toward the ceiling

  • Inhale and lift your right leg up and back behind you for three legged dog. Keep your hips square

  • Exhale and bend your right knee as you shift forward so your shoulders are aligned with your wrists. Plant your right foot in between your hands. Rotate your back heel down to the mat and face your toes to a 45-degree angle. Press the outer edge of your foot down

  • Inhale and lift your torso up. Square your hips forward. Keep the bend in your right knee and make sure your knee points forward and is aligned over your right foot

  • Reach your arms up over your head. Slide your shoulders down your back. Hug your ribs in

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Repeat on the second side

Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana):

  • From warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I), clasp your hands behind your back and roll your shoulders down away from your ears. You can hold a strap behind your back for more space between your shoulders

  • Inhale and lift your chest as you lengthen your spine. Hug your ribs in

  • Exhale and bend from your hip crease, lowering your head to the inside of your right knee. Make sure your knee faces forward and stays aligned over your ankle

  • Lift your arms up toward the ceiling to stretch your chest

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Release the clasp of your hands

  • Repeat on the second side

Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III):

  • From warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I), shift your weight into your front leg

  • Hinge forward from your hips. Lift your back heel up off the mat and then lift your back leg up until your leg is aligned with your torso

  • Square your hips

  • Point your back toes down and flex your foot

  • Place your hands on blocks underneath your shoulders for more stability

  • If you want to test your balance, place your hands at your heart in prayer position or reach them out to the sides or toward the front of the room in line with your shoulders

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Gently lower the lifted leg back down. Return to warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I)

  • Repeat on the second side

Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II):

  • From warrior 1 (virabhadrasana I), open your hips to the side of the room

  • Parallel the outer edge of your back foot with the back of your mat

  • Align your front heel with the arch of your back foot

  • Keep your front knee bent, facing forward and aligned with your front ankle

  • Hug your ribs in

  • Reach your arms in opposite directions to the front and back of the room and make sure they are in one line. Face your palms down and spread your fingers wide

  • Roll your shoulders away from your ears

  • Gaze over your front fingertips

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Repeat on the second side

Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana):

  • From warrior 2 (virabhadrasana II), flip your front palm up

  • Reach forward and then reach your front arm up and back. Your palm will face the floor

  • Keep your front knee bent and aligned over your front ankle

  • Left you back arm slide down your back leg

  • Gaze up toward your top hand for a deeper stretch

  • Feel the space between your ribs opening

  • Stay in the pose for 3-5 breaths

  • Return to warrior 2 (virabhadrasana II)

  • Repeat on the second side

Can you feel yourself growing taller as you root firmly through your feet? The warrior poses help you build a strong foundation, tone your muscles and gain stamina while increasing mobility and flexibility. I hope this practice makes you feel fierce, while holding compassion for yourself and others. Leave me a comment below and let me know which pose was your favorite and which pose you found most challenging.

With gratitude,


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