The Warrior Poses are used in yoga sequences to unite many of the other yoga poses in our practice. Here each Warrior pose is looked at from three perspectives:

  • The Warrior Pose – How to physically move into each Warrior pose.
  • Personal Attachment/Emotions – I will explain how each Warrior pose makes me feel during my yoga practice and whether I like the pose, love the pose, or in some way fear the pose.
  • The Muscles – What muscles are at work?

One of the many things that I love about yoga is that yoga affects every practitioner differently. There are poses that are very meaningful to people and pose we move through to get to the next. Sometimes you can just tell which poses you love by the want to sit with them a bit longer.

The Yoga Warrior Pose

Warrior 1

W1 is a strengthening and focusing pose that makes us feel grounded to the earth. When reading about the pose it mentions fearlessly (remember this word for later) lifting and expanding the chest. There is definitely a balancing aspect to this pose which is why the focus and strength to holds the pose is so important.

  1. From a mountain pose move one foot to the back of the mat.
  2. The front foot is facing forward and the back at an angle that allows both of your hips to point forward (both heels are on the ground).
  3. The front leg is bent at a 90-degree angle – with knee directly over the ankle.
  4. Shoulders are square, facing forward as you lift arms overhead – pinkies turn in and gaze up to your thumbs or straight ahead.

Warrior 2

The W2 pose connects us to our internal powers. It makes us feel like we can laugh at our problems and anyone that might be causing them. Warrior 2 is a stable pose that allows us to focus on our practice.

  1. From a mountain pose move one foot toward the back of the mat.
  2. The toes in front are pointing forward with the foot in back parallel to the back of the mat.
  3. The leg in front moves to a 90-degree angle and arms go out to T – one pointing forward and one behind (check the arm in back to make sure it is straight and level).
  4. Hips and shoulders are square to the side and the gaze is over the front fingers.

Warrior 3

Warrior 3 is a focusing and lengthening pose that creates a line of energy from the fingers to the toes. Warrior 3 is the only pose where just one foot stays connected to the ground. So finding focus, grounding, and balance is very important.

  1. From a mountain pose both hands move forward as you place weight in the one foot.
  2. The other foot rises behind you with a flexed foot, toes pointing down.
  3. Hips should stay level/aligned as you reach arms further forward gazing forward with arms raised in alignment with your ears.

Personal Emotions/Experience

Warrior 1

Warrior 1 is a vulnerable pose for me, but I am sure it is a strong posture for others. I notice that many times we move from W1 to a crescent lunge. This transition makes me believe Warrior 1 is the hardest of the Warrior poses. I have an issue with confidence, so I feel like that is why Warrior 1 is my least favorite pose. I would like to hear from those that find this to be their favorite pose. Warrior 1 also has a balancing aspect that can come up when least expected. I sometimes feel stable in this pose and then suddenly falter.

* I noted when I researched each Warrior Pose, the word “fearlessly” was used to describe W1. This description spoke to my feelings.

Warrior 2

Warrior 2 is a power pose. It makes me feel stable and powerful. I feel I am spreading this power from each fingertip to the end of each toe. It opens the body without making me feel vulnerable. Maybe that is because I am not looking in the same direction my heart is opening? I feel the pride without looking it straight in the face like Warrior 1. This has always been one of my favorite poses. In gentle yoga, I like to bring this pose into the sequence and to develop little moves in this pose to center and release.

Warrior 3

Warrior 3 is a balancing pose not only in the literal sense of the word but also in the base of the pose itself. I find myself doing this pose all the time. Odd, but I never randomly strike a Warrior 2 pose, but I often move into a Warrior 3 position when bored or standing around. I am not sure why exactly. It is something I need to explore more. Any ideas?

The Muscles

Warrior 1

This Warrior 1 pose strengthens the arms, shoulders, thighs, ankles, core and back

  • Rectus abdominis – “the abs”
  • Obliquus internus
  • Transversus abdominis – important muscle central to the core
  • Bicep femoris – part of the hamstring group helps with knee flexion and hip extension
  • Sartorius – the longest muscle located in the leg runs from inner thigh to outer knee
  • Obliquus externus – outer obliques

Warrior 2

Warrior 2 strengthens the legs and ankles

  • Gluteus maximus – “the glutes”
  • Gluteus Medius – Muscles on the front of the pelvic bone
  • Obliquus externus – outer obliques
  • Biceps femoris – part of the hamstring group helps with knee flexion and hip extension
  • Sartorius – the longest muscle located in the leg runs from inner thigh to outer knee
  • Adductor longus – part of the adductor group of muscles in the thigh.
  • Adductor magnus – considered part of the hamstring

Warrior 3

Warrior 3 strengthens the ankles, legs, shoulders, and back.

  • Gluteus Medius – Muscles on the front of the pelvic bone
  • Piriformis – in the glute region it is one of the muscles that make up the lateral rotator group
  • Gluteus maximus – “the glutes”
  • Quadratus femoris – hip joint movement – external rotation and adduction
  • Obliquus externus – outer obliques
  • Biceps femoris – part of the hamstring group helps with knee flexion and hip extension
  • Sartorius – the longest muscle located in the leg runs from inner thigh to outer knee.
  • Adductor longus – part of the adductor group of muscles in the thigh.
  • Adductor magnus – considered part of the hamstring

So after this exploration, I am a Warrior 2. Which Warrior Pose do you feel the most in your practice? That is your Warrior, and you can work toward exploring being all Warrior poses.