By Sarah Highfield, Yogagise Yoga
One of the many wonderful benefits of yoga is its ability to transform your mind and body. On days when you need to calm down after a stressful day of work, you might turn to yin yoga or yoga nidra, and on days when you need to energise and lift your mood, you might turn to vinyasa flow yoga or chanting. Similarly, on days that you need to feel strong and powerful, you can practice various warrior poses to help you embody those emotions.
As with all yoga, transformation takes place from within. By simply adopting the warrior stances and channelling your energy throughout your entire body, you will instantly feel empowered and ready for anything.
Here are three variations of warrior pose to help you thrive:
Benefits of this pose: This pose helps to strengthen your lower body, as well as offers the benefits of a mild backbend. It also stretches the front of your body and creates a gentle twist in your spine. Mentally, it helps you to feel grounded and powerful.
How to do it: Stand with your left foot forward and your right foot behind. With an inhalation, bend your front knee and extend your arms up above your head. Keep your core lightly engaged, rotate your torso forward, rotate your shoulders so your arm pits face one another and reach up high through your fingertips. Hold the pose for five deep breaths in and out of your nose and then repeat on the second side.
Benefits of this pose: This pose provides a deep hip stretch and strengthens your core and upper body. It helps to build awareness of your whole body, as well as develops mental stamina and concentration.
How to do it: Start with your left foot forward and your right foot behind, look down at your feet to check that your heels are roughly in line. With an inhalation, lift your arms up so they are parallel to the floor and with an exhalation, bend your left knee so that it is above your left heel. Keep your core lightly engaged, soften your shoulders away from your ears and extend out through your fingertips. Hold the pose for five deep breaths in and out of your nose and then repeat on the second side.
Benefits of this pose: This pose works to grow your sense of stability and balance. It also trains the small muscles of your feet and ankles, and helps your mind to stay calm under pressure.
How to do it: Start in mountain pose with your hands in prayer position at your heart centre. On an inhalation, lightly engage your core and lengthen your spine, and on an exhalation, transfer your weight into your left foot and slowly tilt forward while raising your right leg backwards. Come into ‘T’ shape, flex your back foot, and square your hips towards the floor. Hold the pose for five deep breaths in and out of your nose and then repeat on the second side.
Sarah Highfield is a leading international yoga teacher and writer. Visit: yogagise.com or find her on Instagram @Yogagise.