Viparita Virabhadrasana, otherwise known as reverse warrior, commonly follows Warrior II in a vinyasa yoga sequence. To me this is a very pretty pose. One of my favorite cues for reaching the front arm overhead and back is to reach the finger tips forward, flip your hand and paint the ceiling with your palm. The imagery of painting the ceiling with your palm is quite graceful, fluid and pleasing to me. I’ve only heard one teacher use that cue which I occasionally borrow when instructing students – thanks for that! Since starting the pose of the week series, I’ve noticed that my favorite poses tend to have a side bend component and warrior stance to them which is the case with Reverse Warrior. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Getting into the pose: Feet are positioned 4 feet apart. Back toes are pointed in at a 45 degree angle while front toes are facing forward. Heel of back foot is in line with heel of front foot. Front arm extends overhead and fingertips reach back with palm facing down to get a stretch in the side body. Front knee is bent and front thigh is parallel to the mat. Back let is straight and back arm is resting on the calf.
Alignment cues with right knee bent: Continue to bend your right knee as you reach your right arm and fingertips over your ear and back getting a deep stretch in the right side body. Gaze up at your fingertips and slide your left hand down your calf being mindful to avoid the knee joint. Left leg is strong as you pull up on the knee cap. Press weight into the outer edge of your left foot. Avoid collapsing in your left side body and create space between your left shoulder and left ear. Breathe into the side stretch.
• Strengthens and stretches the legs, groins, hips, and the sides of the torso and waist.
• Improves flexibility in the spine, inner thighs, ankles, and chest.
• Increases blood flow throughout the body, reducing fatigue and helping to calm the mind.