You’ve no doubt encountered in your yoga practice the poses known as Warrior I, Warrior II and Warrior III.
I was always intrigued by the fact that they’re numbered with Roman numerals, which makes something like my Warrior 2.1 pose a little awkward to name: Warrior II.I?
So, I’d like to break with convention and discuss how to do Arabic-numeral Warrior 4.
Luckily, this is one of those poses where the pictures speak for themselves.
1. Take a step forward with your right foot. Turn your left foot slightly out.
2. Your hands are behind your back, either holding your elbows…
…or placing your palms together if your wrists and shoulders are up to the task without feeling pain…
…with the palms more or less aligned as shown.
3. Begin to lean forward and to shift the weight of your body to your right foot until…
4. …your left leg is completely amenable to the concept of rising parallel to the floor, leaving you to balance like a wobbly little yogi.
5. For the true Warrior 4, though, you must now tilt your chest downward and raise your left leg higher. Remember to breathe. In fact, breathe five slow breaths in this position, and then come down and repeat it on the second side.
Benefits: Those of you perspicacious enough to catch that this pose is a blend of Warrior III and Parsvottanasana will appreciate the fact that you’ve got an inversion, a balance position, a hamstring extender, a shoulder opener and a wrist stretcher all in one. So those are the benefits. And that you’re getting all this for half the price of the other two poses.
Avoid if: If you have the balance of a maimed three-legged stool and keel over and crash into furniture (or other yoga practitioners) at the slightest breeze, you might want to do this where your balance, or lack thereof, can be accounted for and the unintentional coming-out-of-the-pose doesn’t land you in the emergency room. Think nearby walls, or the side of a couch, or cushions all around. If your hips or shoulders feel pain in this position, then you may want to try other poses instead of, or to build up to, this one.
Final thoughts: I just realized that there’s another reason why an Arabic numeral for Warrior 4 looks better than a Roman one. I mean, how can you look at something like Warrior IV and not think, “Nurse! Nurse! This warrior needs an IV, stat!”
Author: Ricardo das Neves
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own
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