Exalted Warrior pose or viparita virabhadrasana, is our pose of the week and it’s definitely a favourite in a flow class. This pose has many names, Reverse Warrior, Sun Warrior, Exalted Warrior–but whatever you call it, it’s a great pose for channeling strength and grace at the same time. As with any pose, it’s important to warm up first before coming into this pose, especially as it has an element of backbending to it.
Stretches the side of the body and the arms, opens the hips. Strengthens the lower body. Opens the chest and helps with mobility.
- Start in warrior 2 pose, virabhadrasana II, with your left foot forward and your right foot back. Make sure your back foot (right foot) is parallel to the back of your mat and that your front heel (left foot) is lined up with the middle of your back foot with your toes pointing forward. Hips will be more or less parallel with the long side of your mat and your arms should be extended long and in line with your shoulders.
- Rotate your front hand (right hand) so your palm is facing upwards.
- As you inhale, lift your front arm up to the ceiling and your back arm down towards your left leg. Try not to put any weight on that back leg. It helps to turn that palm to face upwards or to to just rest your fingertips lightly to avoid that extra weight on your back leg.
- Try to keep length through your side body and lift through your chest as you come into a gentle backbend.
- Bring your gaze, your drishti, to your right hand. If you have any kind of neck issues that prevents you from looking up, feel free to take your gaze down to your back foot instead.
- Come back into warrior 2 and repeat on the other side.
Modify this pose by straightening both legs to take the pressure off that bent leg. Come back to the bent leg variation if and when you’re ready. Make sure you have a strong foundation in warrior 2 in order to find success and stability in this pose. Practice makes progress!