Virabhadrasana I (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna) Virabhadra is a mythical warrior
Benefits: Strengthens shoulders, back, arms, legs and ankles. Helps with focus, groundedness, stamina, balance and stability. It stretches neck, shoulders, belly, groins and ankles while opening chest, hips and lungs. This is a very energizing pose.
Finding the Asana:
Start from your base at your feet, feet can be heel to heel or hip width distance, the front foot pointed forward, back foot at roughly a 45 degree angle and actively work the arches on both feet, paying special attention to pressing the outside of the back foot down and not collapsing the arch of the back foot.
Have a wide enough stance so that when you bend the front leg the front knee is moving toward 90 degrees, without the knee going past the foot. Many people do not give themselves a wide enough stance.
The back leg should be strongly engaged and lifting up toward the sky while the hips move toward squaring to the front of the room by internally rotating the back leg and externally rotate the front leg. Try to maintain equal weight in both legs by keeping the back leg strong.
Arms move straight toward the sky, either palms touching or shoulder width apart, externally rotating the arms so that the pinky fingers are moving together and providing space in the shoulders, the shoulders drop down away from the ears creating space to look up if comfortable in the neck.
Back off any part of the posture if you sense compression of the joint. This may mean un-squaring hips slightly.
If you have joint issues around shoulders, knees or hips, this posture should be avoided or modified to support safe practices.
If shoulder pain or discomfort occurs, place hands back on hips.