Warrior I and Warrior II

The warrior posture is one of the most foundational poses of any yoga practice. This pose emulates strength—both mentally and physically. As you hold warrior pose, you stand firmly on your mat with your arms outstretched in an upward direction. Your legs are firm, your gaze straight up into the air. You are at once in a calm and active state—ready to move while also ready to meditate and remain calm.

This pose pays homage to the warrior within all of us. It activates the senses of strength and power with the soul, while offering a deep stretch in the legs that can help you tone muscle.

Mastering the Warrior Pose

Warrior pose is great for those new to yoga, but cannot be overlooked even by those who have practiced yoga for decades. This is a restoration pose. It helps to tone and strengthen muscles without pushing you past your limit. This posture encourages flexibility by stretching your muscles, including your thighs, calves, neck, shoulders and back.

To do warrior pose:

  • Stand on the back of your mat with your feet planted firmly and your head and body looking forward.

  • Take a large step forward with one leg.

  • Bend your front knee so that your knee and thighs are as close to a 90-degree angle as possible.

  • Move your back foot to a 45 to 60 degree angle, pointing outwards.

  • Keep your back leg straight as you shift your body weight forward.

  • Keep your back straight and stretch your arms over your head.

  • Look up through your arms.

This is the original variation of the warrior pose. Other variations involve stretching your arms in a T-shape across the span of your mat, or lifting the back leg off of the mat so you can balance on your front leg.

Variations of the pose include:

  • Warrior II: From warrior one pose, move your arms from their placement extending over your head to stretch out from your side. Your right arm should be firm over your right leg, and your left over your left leg. This will open your chest and allow you to twist slightly.

  • Warrior III: From warrior one posture, shift your body weight onto your front foot and lift your back leg off the ground so that it is straight and protruding at hip level. Keep your hands over your head, but shift your torso so that your upper body is leaning over your right thigh, as close to parallel with the ground as possible.

When you are first learning the warrior pose, you are encouraged to start in the original position and to transition into different forms of the pose as you understand the essentials of the posture.