Warrior 1 is a classic hip opener that improves hip stability and mobility. It is most commonly found in Sun Salutation B. If you have trouble with the pose, which requires external rotation of the hip in the back leg, feel free to practice High Lunge in its place.
WARRIOR 1 BENEFITS
- Strengthens the feet, ankles, knees, quads and hips.
- Stretches the ankles, calves, hamstrings, groin and shoulders.
- Opens up the hips.
Start in Downward Dog.
Turn your left foot out 45 degrees and press into your palms to make room for your right foot to step in between your hands. Inhale, keep your hips low and sweep your arms out and up into Warrior 1. Exhale, relax into the pose. You can bring your hands together or keep them shoulder-width apart.
Line up your front and back heels. (If that’s not doable, you can move your front foot out to the right so that you’re not on such a tightrope.) Check that your right knee points straight ahead and comes directly above your front ankle. Turn your hips towards the top of the mat and try to bring your front thigh parallel with the mat. Gently engage the glutes on your back leg and straighten your back knee to stabilise your left hip. Draw your ribs in to avoid overarching your lower back and lift up out of your pelvis.
Although, ideally, your hips will point straight ahead, for most people, that’s not possible and it’s still a great hip opener.
Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths on each side.
VARIATION: Warrior 1 with Chest Opener
- To stretch your chest and deepen your backbend, interlace your fingers at the base of your spine and draw your shoulders back.
- Avoid Warrior 1 if you have a foot, hip or back injury.