One of the most common problems with perfecting the Virabhadrasanas (Warrior Poses) is getting the right angle on the front leg. Here’s an exercise using a 3” or 4” foam yoga blockthat will allow you to feel the hip work you’ve probably been missing.
Even if you’ve been practicing yoga for many years, chances are you’re either standing too high or too low, avoiding the proper work in the hips. I’ll use Virabhadrasana II for the example, but you can use the same technique for improving your Virabhadrasana I stance.
A foam block can do wonders for your warrior pose. Here’s how:
- Place your block on its side, the top just below your knee, where your shin bone begins.
- Press your shin firmly into your block while you take Virabhadrasana II.
- Look down at your front leg. Imagine you have X-ray vision and are looking right through to your femur. How close is it to parallel with the ground? Adjust your back leg to bring your front femur as close to parallel with the floor as you can, while continuing to press your shin firmly into the foam yoga block.
- Stay as close to parallel as you can for as long as you can, feeling what it’s like for the hip to be in this position.
Chances are that even though you’re being strongly supported by the foam yoga block, you’ll find this alignment challenging and won’t be able to keep the hips in this position for very long before having to come out. As you practice with your block, you’ll be able to stay longer and fine tune the action in your hips.
Try to remember how your hips feel in this supported pose. When you’re able to experience the correct alignment, you’ll be able to work towards it when the props aren’t there.
Che Nolan is a propologist with a major in bolsterology and an Iyengar yoga practitioner with a daily meditation practice. He’s also a writer and a regular Halfmoon contributor.