Yoga 101: Length & Strength

Welcome back to my Yoga 101 series! I am so excited to share a few more powerful yoga poses with you all! If you aren’t familiar with this series, I encourage you to check out my last two posts before reading this one, but it is completely up to you! I will link my first post here, and the second one here. In each post, I share a few yoga poses with you and I describe in detail how you will get into the poses. I have been doing yoga for a year and a half now, and I have seen incredible improvements with my flexibility, strength, and overall wellbeing (including my mindset). With that being said, please keep in mind that I am not qualified to teach yoga and I am still learning myself, however I do feel that my practice has allowed me to confidently know these poses inside and out. I hope you will take in what I want to share today!

In my last post, I discussed the warrior poses, however there was one that I missed. So, today I will be sharing reverse warrior, side angle, and triangle. These poses are all about lengthening the body, and staying strong (as are most yoga poses). These are not exactly the easiest poses to stay in, but trust me when I say you do feel very powerful when you get it right! Remember that these poses are often done in a flow, however it is important to learn how to do them on their own before moving at a faster pace in a flow. I recommend watching along with the videos in my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram, @sacchere14) Especially if you have never done yoga before. If this is your first time getting into these poses, you are probably going to think I am typing complete gibberish! If you are more advanced, you may not need a video, but it will always be on my Instagram if you do! Try your best to follow along, and take your time!

Reverse Warrior

For this pose, we are going to start as if we are already in warrior II. Again, if you need to refer back to my last post  or my Yoga 101 highlight on my Instagram, please do. Starting off in warrior II, your feet are going to stay exactly as they are. When you are in warrior II, your palms are facing the ground, however that will change slightly for this pose. With the hand that is out in front of you, you will turn the palm to the sky. The back hand will slowly land either directly above or below the back of the knee (you never want any lateral pressure on your knees. This can cause pain or discomfort). If you aren’t feeling very flexible, place it above the back of the knee, and if you are more of an experienced yogi, try placing it below the back of the knee. As for the arm in front, you will lift it up to the sky. Any time your arms are lifted above the head, it is easy to allow your shoulders to lift too, but try to keep that front shoulder down as the arm lifts high. Keep in mind that in yoga, height is not exactly the priority; it is all about length. Although your back arm is down, try not to collapse or allow your side to scrunch into this pose. Lift and lengthen the body. When in this pose, you can keep the gaze low.

Side Angle

Once again, let’s start off in warrior II. Your feet are going to stay in the same position for this pose, but your arms will be moving. Make sure you are bending into that front knee, and that your knee is right above your ankle (in a right angle). Then, you will bring your front arm down as the forearm lands on the thigh gently. Remember that you shouldn’t press too hard into your thigh, it is really your thigh that should be strong in order to lightly support the forearm if it is needed. When you are here, your back arm is going to lift straight up. Make sure that your shoulders are not scrunched up to your ears. Relax them down as you reach up. If this is already intense for you, then you can stay here. If you are looking to advance in your practice a bit more, try moving the back arm over your head to feel an even deeper stretch. Be sure that you are not collapsing into the front hip. It is all about lengthening and lifting the body, even when you are in a pose where your body looks like it is leaning off to one side, you should never let it fall. When you are here, you can either look straight forward or up to the sky if you want a challenge.

Traingle

Starting off in Warrior II again, you are going to want to adjust your feet to get into triangle. Instead of having your back foot angle in slightly, as you do for warrior II, you are going to have it facing out to the side completely. Once you’re here, you will straighten the front leg. Remember not to lock out your knee; you want a very slight bend in it so that you do not cause any knee injury. Now, you will place your front hand down on your shin (or above the knee if you cannot get that low). Your back hand will once again lift up to the sky. I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again: never collapse into these poses. Although it seems like you can just relax into these poses, you really want to lengthen and lift to be able to feel and see the benefits. Plus, if you just allow gravity to take over and dip too low, you wouldn’t be doing the poses correctly. Think of it as lifting up and out of these poses rather than sinking down. Your torso should be long and strong. You can keep your gaze down toward your feet or up to the sky. When doing these poses in a flow, try to move gracefully as you go!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post! I love doing yoga, and I really do want to share those benefits with you, so if you are hoping to start learning yoga, now is a great time! Be safe and know that you may not get it 100% right on the first try. You have to have the determination and understanding that with time, effort, and practice, you will get it in to time! Thank you for reading!

Yoga 101: Warrior Poses

I am very excited to share the second post in my Yoga 101 series! I created this series to help beginner yogis learn all of the best yoga poses (though these posts can be helpful to any yogi at any level)! I encourage you to check out my Instagram @sacchere14 to see my Yoga 101 posts and highlights for videos of each pose! As I explain how to get into the poses, it may seem confusing, but I will try to explain things in the easiest way possible. If you haven’t read my first post, I would recommend checking it out before you read this one (though it’s not necessary). It will be linked here!

Today I will be discussing the warrior poses. These are such strong and empowering poses that are essential to include in your practice! I have been doing yoga daily for over a year now, so I do feel that I have the experience needed to help others, however I am not a professional or expert. I appreciate any feedback, tips, or advice (I am still perfecting many poses myself).

These poses are typically done in a vinyasa flow, however transitioning from pose to pose can be difficult at first. Try your best!

Warrior I

Let’s begin with warrior I. To get into this pose, you want to start off with your feet hip width apart in a forward fold. You’re going to step your right leg back (you can start with whichever leg you’d like), making sure that your left knee stays stacked above the left ankle (this helps to avoid injuries). Your right foot should be at an angle, facing slightly outward. For every single pose, I encourage you to engage your core by holding in your stomach (but don’t forget to breathe) and to lengthen your back. You do not want your back to be arched or hunched. The biggest challenge with this pose is that you want your hips to be squared, facing the front of your mat. It may be tricky as a beginner, but with practice you can get there. Try to avoid turning your hips when you bring the leg behind you. It’s important that you feel strong in each and every pose, and this one requires some balance, so make sure that you feel grounded once your feet are in place. Once you’re here, you can keep your palms together at your heart, straight out in front of you with your palms facing inward, or if you’re feeling strong, you can lift your arms up over your head with your palms facing inward. If you decide to lift your arms, check to make sure that you aren’t lifting your shoulders as well; keep them down. Remember to repeat the process on the other side of your body.

Warrior II

Now we can move on to warrior II. You can start off the same way you did for warrior I, or you can transition from warrior I to warrior II. Any time you transition, try to do it as gracefully as possible. Again, this won’t always be easy at first. You can practice by doing this pose on its own, rather than transitioning into it. To transition, you now want to face your right foot completely to the right rather than at an angle. The best way to know that your alignment is correct is by seeing if the heel of your front foot aligns with the arch of your back foot. If it is in a straight line, then you are doing it right. Your core will now be facing the right. You’re going to keep your head facing the front of your mat, and you will lift your arms; one straight in front of you, and the other straight behind you. Both of your palms will be facing downward. Make sure you aren’t lifting your shoulders in this pose. Always check to see that your front knee is right above the ankle. Remember to hold in your core and lengthen your back. Warrior II is a hip opening pose, however only the hip in front of you is opening, which should be a reminder to do the same exact thing on the other side!

Warrior III

To transition out of warrior II and into warrior III you’re going to now move into crescent pose. So, your back foot will now turn toward the front of the mat, and your toes will curl under. Your entire core and your hips will also shift to face the front of your mat. Your arms can lift up into the air once you’re here. Again, check to make sure your front knee is directly over the front ankle. Your back leg will be straight, though it’s important to never overextend your legs; always keep a slight bend in the knees (even when the legs are technically supposed to be straight). This will help to avoid any knee injuries. Now, you will bring your palms together right at your heart and slowly and carefully lift your back leg up off the ground. If you are a beginner, you can either step to the front of the mat or you can try to bypass the floor with that foot. You will slowly lean your body forward while your leg is straight out behind you. Your hips are going to want to open up, but try to avoid this. They should be squared and facing the front of the mat. Your back should be flat (not hunched or arched). If you are feeling strong, you can lift your arms and bring them out to the sides. This will help with your balance. Your gaze should be toward the ground, and you can try to focus on something that isn’t moving to help keep your balance. Although I have been practicing for over a year, there are still plenty of times when I fall out of this pose. Don’t give up! You can always come back and try it again.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, reading these explanations may be a bit confusing and hard to follow, so check out my videos on my Instagram in my Yoga 101 highlight. Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful day!

What poses would you like to see next?