Warrior I, or *Virabhadrasana* I in Sanskrit, is an alignment-based, static, standing pose known to increase concentration and build strength in the legs, torso, and spine. This *[asana](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/yoga-asanas-guide)* helps fully expand the chest, encouraging deep breathing and relieving tension in the shoulders and back. \n\nThis yoga pose engages the whole body with a dynamic stretch as the yogi gazes straight ahead at the horizon. Building a strong foundation in warrior I is key to successful alignment, and doing so tones the ankles and knees and builds fortitude in the quadriceps and openness in the hamstrings. \n\nWarrior I pose is commonly practiced in a traditional Vinyasa flow, where it is usually only held for a few breaths before transitioning to the next pose. However, it can be highly beneficial to practice warrior pose on its own and hold it for a more extended period of up to 10 long, slow deep breaths. Here are a few ways to enter warrior I:\n\n1. __From mountain pose (*Tadasana*)__. Beginning from [mountain pose](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/mountain-pose-explained) is a great way for beginners to enter Warrior I because it allows you to build a firm foundation in the legs. Stand at the top of the mat with your feet hips-width-apart and hands at heart center in prayer position. Step your left foot back about four feet, pivot the foot so the toes face the left corner of the mat (about a 45-degree angle), then enter the pose. \n2. __From downward-facing dog (*Adho Mukha Savasana*)__. Entering from [downward dog](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/downward-dog-explained) is the most common way in a Vinyasa flow. Some yoga teachers will cue you to lift the right leg high behind you before stepping it through between the hands. In some classes, the instructor may cue you to step your right foot between the hands without lifting the leg first—both ways are acceptable. After stepping your foot forward between your hands, slowly rise with your hands on your hips and adjust your back leg, so the toes face the left corner of the mat, then enter the pose. \n3. __From warrior III (*Virabhadrasana I*)__. In warrior III, your right leg is strong and rooted to the floor, your left leg is lifted straight behind you, and your hands are interlaced above your head, torso parallel to the ground. From here, bend the right knee slightly and bring the left leg behind you on the mat. Adjust your back foot, so the toes face the left corner of the mat, and then enter pose. \n\nOnce you are ready to enter the warrior I pose, set yourself up in an aligned position: \n\n1. __Transition and step the left foot back first__. Your right toes face forward, and your left toes face the left corner of the mat. Plant both heels on the ground. Your left heel should be at a 45-degree angle. Breathe.\n2. __Place your hands on your hips and adjust your legs__. Focus on firming up your foundation and bring the hands to the hips. Ensure your back leg is firm, straight, and strong, and bend your front knee as close to a 90- degree angle as you can. If you feel unbalanced, inch the left foot out closer to the left side of the mat to widen your stance.\n3. __Turn your hips facing forward__. Your hips should face the front of the mat as much as possible in a neutral position. You will hear yoga teachers say, “square your hips,” but this can be challenging for the anatomy. Your left hip may be slightly further back than your right. Do what you can to bring it forward.\n4. __Lift your arms above your head__. On an inhalation, lift your hands above your head. Roll your shoulder blades back and down and turn your palms in to face each other. Some variations have practitioners bring their hands to touch above their heads, and some variations have yogis keep their hands at shoulder distance apart. \n5. __Sink deeper in the front knee__. Breathing deeply, sink deeper into the front knee, and firm up your back leg. Set your gaze directly in front of you. Engage your core to support your lower back and reach the tailbone towards the ground.\n6. __Allow the chest to open and expand__. Open up through the chest and allow yourself to come into a slight backbend. If your neck allows, look up towards your hands. Stay here for a few breaths. \n7. __Switch sides__. Step forward into mountain pose or back into a downward-facing dog, and spend the same amount of time on the opposite side. \n\nWarrior I is just one of the five warrior poses in yoga. All of the other warrior poses can be entered into from warrior I and are commonly practiced together as a part of a warrior series in a Vinyasa flow class. The following guide will demonstrate how to enter each warrior pose if your right leg is forward:\n\n1. __Warrior II (*Virabhadrasana II*)__: From warrior I, you can open up into warrior II. If your right foot is forward, bring your left hand behind you and your right hand in front of you, face your hips towards the left side of the room, widen your stance, and gaze directly above the right middle finger. Keep your shoulders back and down, back leg straight and strong. \n2. __Warrior III (*Virabhadrasana II*)__: From warrior I, you can come forward into warrior III. If your right foot is ahead, lift your left leg up and back, engage your core, and balance on your right leg. Your spine is long, and your torso comes down parallel to the mat. Your hands are above your head, fingers interlaced, and your gaze is down. Breathe deeply. \n3. __Reverse warrior (*Viparita Virabhadrasana*)__: To reverse your warrior, simply bring your left arm down the back of the left leg (if your right leg is forward), lift the right arm up and over the head, and open up through the intercostal muscles (muscles around the ribs) on your right side. Breathe. \n4. __Humble warrior (*Baddha Virabhadrasana*)__: From warrior I, with your right leg forward, interlace your hands behind your back. Bow forward, so your chest comes down on the inside of the front leg. Let go of the head and neck and breathe. This pose lowers the heart rate after a challenging warrior series. \n\nProper form and technique are essential to ensure the safety and effectiveness of a yoga practice. If you have a previous or pre-existing health condition, consult your physician before practicing yoga. Yoga poses may be modified based on your individual needs.\nUnroll your mat, get a [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com), and get your *om* on with Donna Farhi, one of the most celebrated figures in the world of yoga. Follow along as she teaches you the importance of breathing and finding your center as well as how to build a strong foundational practice that will restore your body and mind. \nWarrior pose can help tone the lower body and release tension in the shoulders and back.