Vira = Hero, Brave; Bhadra = Blessed, Virtuous, Auspicious; Asana = Pose; Eka = One
This pose strengthens the legs, buttocks, back, abdomen shoulders, and arms. It stretches the legs, hip flexors, abdomen and chest, and it facilitates digestion while supporting the immune system.
As always, check with your healthcare provider before beginning any physical practice. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure or if you are struggling to balance, keep your hands on your waist and avoid long holds in this pose. If your knees are weak or you have any recent or chronic injuries or pain in the shoulders, knees, hips, or legs, you may want to avoid the posture.
How to Practice:
- Stand in Tadasana at the front of your mat, hands on your waist.
- Step back with your left foot, about a leg’s length, keeping the feet hip width apart, (like your feet are on railroad tracks). Bend your right knee over the ankle. You can keep your back heel lifted “Kripalu style” (this version is often called a high lunge) or plant the left heel with the toes pointed toward the left upper corner of your mat. If you right knee is past the ankle, step the left foot back more.
- Move your tail toward the ground to lengthen the low back, and press the left thigh back.
- Raise your arms overhead into a parallel or “V” position. Draw your upper shoulder blades out away from the spine and the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in and down; reach up with soft fingers.
- Inhale and lengthen up out of your waist, exhale as you arch your upper back, keeping your neck in line with the spine. Keep the sternum lifted, and avoid collapsing in the low back.
- To release, lead with your chest to come up straight, then lower your arms and bring your hands onto your front thigh. Lean into the thigh as you step your back foot forward into Tadasana.
- Rest and observe, and repeat on the other side.
- Keep the hands on the waist.
- Practice with a straight spine or just a slight arch in the back.
- Take a smaller step back.
- Come into a low lunge with hands supporting the low back or front knee.
- Bring arms into Goddess position or clasp your hands behind your back.
- For a flow; inhale as you straighten front leg; exhale as you bend it.
- Humble Warrior.