Viparita Virabhadrasana: Reverse Warrior Pose

Virabhadrasana

In viparita virabhadrasana (VIP-uh-REE-tuh veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh), experience a member of the “warrior” family with an incredible opening in the side of the torso as well as the stretching the legs. By giving the side of your heart an opportunity to shine (as a side bend rather than a back bend), this posture offers all sorts of positive vibes, including a boost of self-esteem and perseverance.

Philosophy + Origin

The general definition of a warrior is someone who “engages in warfare,” which conjures up images of battlefields, weapons, and violence. The power of reverse warrior is to “turn around” this imagery to think about warriorship in different contexts. The idea of a peaceful warrior, or even a light warrior, is used in yoga to remind students that showing up with love and intention in day-to-day life is just as important, if not more so. When practicing reverse warrior, ask yourself to consider definitions or beliefs in your life from another perspective. There are two sides to each coin, and the better you know both sides, the better prepared you will be to live your life with steadiness, grace, and ease.

Adjustments/Modifications:

  • If gazing up feels uncomfortable, practice the pose with your gaze toward the ground or use your raised arm to cradle the head.
  • Rather than trying to reach back as far as possible in this pose, bring your attention to lifting and lengthening through the spine.
  • Pay special attention to your lower back as you practice this pose. If you begin to feel a backbend more than a side bend, ease away from the shape until you can once again find length and space.

Step-By-Step

  1. Start in warrior II with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Bend your front knee directly over your ankle.
  2. Inhale your right hand to the sky.
  3. Keep the bend in your front knee.
  4. Lengthen the sides of your torso with every inhale, strengthen your legs with every exhale.
  5. If it’s comfortable for your neck, turn your gaze up to the fingertips of your right hand.
  6. Soften your shoulders down your back.
  7. Hold for 3-5 breaths, then release to warrior II. Repeat on the other side.

Preparatory Poses:

Sequential Poses:

Counter Poses:

Sanskrit:

  • Viparita = reversed, turned around
  • Virabhadra = incarnation of Lord Shiva
  • Asana = pose

Physical Benefits:

  • Stretches groins, hips, and obliques.
  • Releases tension in the muscles around the ribs to create a deeper, freer breath.
  • Energizes the body.

Energetic Benefits:

  • Improves self-esteem and perseverance.
  • Opens the heart and throat chakras.
  • Calms the mind.


Next Article

Utthita Trikonasana: Triangle Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS    |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

A classic standing posture in many yoga lineages utthita trikonasana (oo-TEE-tah trik-cone-AHS-uh-nah), strengthens and stretches the entire body. Approaching the pose with knowledge of intelligent modifications will help you enjoy the posture and all it has to offer.

Philosophy + Origin

In hatha yoga, where the intent is to unite opposing forces – sun with moon, masculine with feminine, light with dark – this pose offers an opportunity to embody this philosophy when you focus on finding stability while you expand. When you look at the physical shape of the posture, you also see the triangles being formed. And, when you look a little closer, you find several triangles hidden in the shape of the body – the two legs with the floor, floating under the side body, and between the front foot and the front hand.

Read Article

Related Articles

More In Focus

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Get instant access to free videos, helpful articles, and exclusive offers.