Kneeling warrior is a fantastic posture to stretch the quadriceps and hip flexors. All of these muscles in the thigh and frontal hip area get overused on a daily basis from walking, standing for extended lengths of time, running and cycling to name a few. When the thigh muscles get shortened from constant movement the results start to show up in our standing and walking bodily positions.
Have you ever seen a person who walks with pronounced “duck feet” ? The result of tight hip flexors. How about a person who looks physically healthy, but can not sit on the floor without rounding their spine and looking miserable. When the hips and thighs get shortened from years of abuse and the body starts to adapt and change. The tightened muscles start to shape and change the body. When someone has tight hip flexors, the walking gait is changed and the feet turn out, the sense of the core working when we walk is gone. Then the stomach starts to stick out and we lose all core stability. This is one example of many situations that can develop from a neglected area in the body.
Physical reasons brought me to this posture, now I have found the posture to be an excellent way to focus the mind, let go of all expectations and live in the present moment. This posture can deepen the internal aspects of your practice. Complete focus on ujjayi breathing and softening the thigh muscles as they stretch in this demanding posture will teach you how to release on go deeper in all postures. ” Going deeper “can be described as getting so comfortable in a posture that it becomes meditative. This pose can also help you become nicer. Releasing the quadriceps and thighs, releases aggression. So, quite literally, this pose can change your life in more ways than one.
This is how to practice kneeling warrior:
- Bring the short end of your mat to the wall.
- Position a blanket flat on the end of the yoga mat that is closest to the wall. The blanket must look smooth.
- Bring the right knee to the edge of the wall where the blanket is so the right foot and shin go up the wall. The top of the foot is on the wall and the ankle of the raised foot is slightly to the outside of the right hip. This is so the buttocks has room to move towards the wall and not hit the foot.
- Bring the other foot out front so the ankle is positioned under the knee and the sole of the foot is flat. You might already feel massive amounts of stretching in the thigh muscles. Remember no pain and no straining.
- If there is no pain, move the knee on the blanket one inch from the wall. Settle in and focus on the breath. Some will be able to bring the chest upright and the spine moves closer to the wall, hands may rest on the front knee. This is very intense.
- You must move slowly and only go to the point where you can breathe through the stretching sensations.
- Start with thirty seconds on one side and then switch sides.
Variations: Level two repeat on each side. Level three start adding more time. I usually add thirty seconds when I repeat sides. In my evening classes we breathe deeply here for two minutes per side. Enjoy and see what happens.