Reverse Warrior
VIPARĪTA VĪRABHADRĀSANA (विपरीत वीरभद्रासन)
(VIP-uh-REE-tuh veer-aah-bha-drah-sah-nah)

 


‘Viparīta’= reversed or inverted, ‘Vīrabhadra’= warrior or name of legendary mythical warrior,
‘āsana’= posture
‘Vīra’= warrior, hero, courageous, vigorous, ‘Bhadra’= good or auspicious


Alternate Names

Urdhva Virabhadrasana
Inverted Warrior

Difficulty Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing / Back-Bend / Stretch / Balance / Strength

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), facing the front of your mat, with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping your back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward. Raise your arms and bend down into a forward bend, placing your fingertips on the mat, slightly bending the knees.
2. Step your right foot straight back, keeping in line with the right hip, and into a lunge. Make sure that the knee of your front left leg is stacked over your left ankle with your foot in line with your knee.
3. Lift your torso and turn your back-right foot out at a 90-degree angle, so that your right heel is in line with the front left heel, and your right knee is facing in the same direction as your toes.
4. Turn your hip so that your hip sockets are in the same direction as your back right knee and toes.
5. Sink down into your hips, making sure to keep your front left leg in alignment, and your back leg straight. Spread your toes and root both feet down into the mat.
6. Extend your arms out to the side and over your legs, in the shape of a ‘T’, and take a deep breath. When ready, lift your chest and exhale, as you begin to bend back into a soft backbend. As you continue to bend, slightly bring your head back, so that you can gaze toward the sky. Extends your right hand down your body to rest on the side of the lower right leg. Make sure not to rest your hand on your knee. Raise your left arm up to reach over your head with your palm open and down and your fingers pointed.
7. Continue to lengthen up through the ribs, opening your chest and relaxing your jaw and neck. Keep your shoulders broad and open with your shoulder blades flat across your back.
8. Hold this pose for several deep breaths. Hold for about 20 seconds to increase strength and flexibility.
9. When ready, release and come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Front knee extended past the ankle or toes or splayed out to side / Knee not stacked over ankle
• Front foot not perpendicular and in line with the knee.
• Feet lifting off the mat instead of grounded
• Back leg not straight / Back knee locked
• Back hand resting on knee
• Back foot not at a 90-degree angle
• Strained neck or shoulders tense and too close to the ears
• Lower back compressed / Chest collapsed
• Hip sockets facing toward front knee causing torque on the back knee
• Trouble balancing or leaning to either side
• Torso and/or spine leaning forward

Modifications
• Students with shoulder discomfort or injury can rest their hands on their hips instead of raising one.
• Students with lower back discomfort or injury can lessen the intensity by keeping the spine straight.
• Students with neck discomfort or injury can keep the neck straight and gaze straight ahead.
• Students with knee discomfort or injury or tight hips can shorten their stance to reduce knee pressure.
• Students who have trouble balancing or gripping the mat can practice with the back foot up against a wall. If the foot comes off the mat, place a blanket or folded mat under the side of the foot. Alternatively, they can practice while holding a chair or with the side against a wall to help with balance and alignment.
• Students with leg or abdomen weakness, are pregnant, or rehabilitating, can practice with a chair, stool, or a Yoga ball in between the legs for the student to sit on.
• Students whose knees splay to the side, or their hips rotate forward, should not bend their knee so far.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana) or Half Forward Bend, Standing (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Plank (Phalakasana)
• Split Pose (Hanumanasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Biceps and Triceps
• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Abdomen (Core) and Obliques
• Hips (Psoas Major and Iliopsoas)• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Knees• Ankles

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the neck, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, obliques, hips, psoas, groin, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and ankles.
• Opens the chest, hips, groin, and shoulders, as well as lengthens the spine.
• Releases tension in the hips and glutes, which can be therapeutic for students with sciatica and osteoporosis, as well as reduces stiffness around the neck and shoulders.
• Improves and stabilizes joint health by flexing the hips, knees, and ankles which is therapeutic for students with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Improves balance and focus, develops will power and confidence, which stimulates the mind. This also balances the nervous system, which helps with insomnia and fatigue.
• Improves endurance, stamina, and stability.
• Improves the Respiratory System by opening the chest and increasing lung capacity by breathing through the diaphragm, which is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Improves circulation and digestion by massaging internal organs and abdomen muscles. Also stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid.
• Great counter pose during flows.

Contraindications
1. Students with recent or chronic injury to the neck, shoulders, hips, knee, or back, have a cardiac condition, diarrhea, heartburn, or palpitations should avoid this pose or seek guidance.
2. Students with neck, spine, shoulder, knee and/or hip discomfort, have high or low blood pressure, or are pregnant should practice with caution and utilize modifications and/or props and seek guidance.
3. It is important to lift the chest in this pose so that undo pressure is not put on the lower back and/or compress the lower back.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra Two:Sacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.

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