Reverse warrior pose, also known as Viparita Virabhadrasana, is a great opportunity to find lateral flexion. In order for the spine to stay healthy, it should bend forward, extend back, rotate to each side, and bend to each side. When you bend to the side while still facing forward, this is called lateral flexion.
As you might imagine, many core muscles perform lateral flexion. Abdominal muscles like the internal obliques and external obliques and spinal muscles like the erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, and iliocostalis lumborum help the spine bend to the side. Lateral flexion helps keep these muscles healthy, so incorporating Reverse Warrior pose into your practice helps build abdominal and spinal strength.
Reverse Warrior Pose
- Use ujjayi breathing.
- Start at the front of your mat. To come into Warrior 2, step your right foot back about 4 feet and align your right heel or arch with your left heel. Make sure your left knee tracks over your second and third toes. Stack your rib cage directly above your pelvis. Reach your arms to the side and gaze over your left fingers.
- Lift your rib cage away from your hips, and let your right hand lower to your right thigh.
- Reach through your left hand as the arm raises, helping you reach up and over to the right side.
- Look at the inside of your arm or the palm of your hand.
- Hold and breathe for 5-8 breaths. Resist the temptation to let this pose crumple. As you breathe and soften, maintain the distance between your rib cage and pelvis. This will help prevent injury.
- To switch sides, lower your arms to Warrior 2. Straighten your legs, rotate your left foot forward, and rotate your right foot out. Make sure you have correct alignment for your Warrior 2 on the right side before you complete steps 3-6 for the right side.
- To finish, lower your arms to Warrior 2 and transition to your next pose.
Reverse Warrior Pose Video
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Here is a video for visual learners.
What is your favorite lateral flexion pose? Let us know in the comments below.