by Baxter and Nina
Furthermore, as your upper back and chest move into a slight backbend (extension) in Warrior 1, your back muscles are also strengthened, including the muscles around your shoulder blades, your trapezius and serratus anterior, and all the muscles that line your back spine. These are important muscles for keeping your spine healthy and for maintaining good posture. Good posture is essential for healthy aging because it helps keep your spine healthy, supports your respiratory system, and keeps you more mobile.
This pose is accessible even if you have something going on in your shoulders that is challenging because you can control how far you raise your arms. You don’t need to bear weight on your hands, so if you have wrist or hand problems still can do it. And, of course, an added benefit is the pose is very strengthening for the legs as well as the upper body!
Warrior 1 can be challenging to hold (and balance in) for long periods of time, so if you’d like to focus on your upper body rather than your lower body, you can work with your back heel against the wall or try having your feet slightly closer together.
Because we’re focusing on upper body strength for next several weeks, we’re going to give you three different ways to strengthen your body with Warrior 1. Version 1 is the traditional pose, and Versions 2 and 3 use props to help strengthen different muscles in your arms, shoulders and upper body..
Instructions: Starting in Tadasana, step your feet about three feet apart and place your hands on your hips. Spin your right foot out 90 degrees. Then lift your back heel, pivot on the ball of your foot, and spin your back heel back about four or five inches. Next, rotate your hips and chest in the same as your right foot. Don’t force your hips to square with the wall you are facing. Instead, allow your left hip to turn slightly toward your back leg, but square your head and your torso ,from the navel on up, with your front foot. Maintain a straight strong back leg throughout.
Now, release your arms to your sides and turn your palms to face each other. Keeping your palms facing each other, inhale your arms forward and up. If your shoulders are tight, don’t worry about your arms being exactly vertical. But do keep your arms parallel—don’t try to bring your hands together. On your next exhale, bend your front knee so it is directly over your ankle joint. Do not lean forward or back, but keep your torso directly over your pelvis.
To come out of the pose, inhale and straighten your front leg. Then exhale and release your arms to your sides. Pivoting on the balls of your feet, bring your feet back to neutral as your turn your head and torso to face the long end of your mat.
As you come up, check your back, neck and shoulders for any pain. If you experience pain, reduce the time or change the foot position or not force your arms as high or keep them in a V position if your shoulders are good. Preparing for the other side.
Version 2: With a Block
This version activates the muscles on the inner edges of your arms and increases the activity of your pectoralis muscles so you strengthen more muscles than when you do the pose without the block. Start with the lightest block or prop you have. When pose becomes easier with practice, you can use a heavier prop.
Version 3: With a Strap
This version activates the muscles on the outer surfaces of yours arms
and some of your side chest muscles that get extra strengthening.
Follow the instructions for the traditional version of Warrior 1. As you raise your arms forward and up, press outward against the strap on your arms as you also focus your awareness on keeping your elbows straight.
Cautions: If you have high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems, we recommend that you do not to stay in the pose for long periods of time. Try doing the pose dynamically instead, moving in and out of the pose with your breath (see Warrior 1 and Warrior 2 Dynamic Vinyasas), which will still strengthen your arms and upper body. When you use the block or strap, honor any sensations of pain in your shoulder joint. Keep the sides of your neck relaxed, and modify your arm position to see if that makes the pain subside. If pain persists, come out of the pose, and ask a teacher to check your alignment.