Doug Keller: How to Protect Your Hips and Knees in Warrior 1 – Finding Your Unique Foot Alignment

Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I) is almost ubiquitous in yoga classes today, and for good reason. When executed with proper alignment, this popular yoga pose is the perfect balance between silence and dynamism. The legs are solid and grounded into the earth, and the upper body lifts up energetically in response. Achieving that good alignment, however, is no easy task.

Common Misalignment with Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I)

A common issue in Warrior I comes from the setup of the back leg. An active, well-positioned back leg in Warrior I is a combination of internal and external rotation. This is not only confusing, but has the potential to put pressure on the knee if done incorrectly. To achieve the proper balance, think of two elements: the angle of the back foot, and the gentle rolling forward of the hip.

The right foot alignment will differ somewhat for each person, as it depends on the unique characteristics of your body. Unfortunately, most of us try to mold our body according to an image of what foot and hip alignment should look like in Warrior I, which can lead to knee or hip discomfort or in a worst case scenario, even injuries.

So how do you find the correct foot alignment in Warrior I for your body? To isolate this concept without all the complexities of the full pose, Doug Keller suggests starting from a supported Warrior III, or standing L pose to find the correct foot position for your body. Follow along with the yoga video excerpt to find balanced rotation in the back leg, activate your glutes, and protect the low back and knee.

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