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Practice Guide: Season 2 Episode 4 - Warrior

Warrior - Overview

Beginner: The Warrior sequence is a confidence-building series. The emphasis is on lengthening the spine and stretching the hamstrings. The Warrior III position is challenging! Stay calm and strong through your center. Honest effort will yield great benefit. The Earth-Rain breath body link pulls grounding energy from the earth while showering the mind and body with positive energy flow. Elbows seal as you lift your hands on the inhale. Drop shoulders and release tension on the exhale breath. Keep your weight balanced on both legs and feel grounded in your feet. Advanced: This sequence will relieve sluggishness and bring awareness of balance. Focus on squaring the hips and fully extending through the top of the head, all they way through the fingertips and toes. The link is Earth-Rain. Focus on creating energy in the palms of the hands and as the forearms and elbows connect on the inhale lift. Drop the chin and lift from the head as your arms rain down on the exhalation. Feel grounded in your feet and tuck your tailbone gently under.

Chair Pose

Beginner: A great pose for beginners to strengthen their thighs and arms. Sink the tail from diver pose down as the arms raise to align with the ears. Watch that the knees do not overshoot the toes. Don't force the position, let gravity do the work and pull you in the perfect amount of comfort and resistance. Advanced: To deepen in powerful squatting/chair pose, focus on super straight arms and really lengthening through the hands and fingers, while sinking the tail. Are your knees turning out? Keep your inner thighs engaged to keep the knees in proper alignment.

Forward Fold

Beginner: Beginners benefit greatly from forward fold, as it stretches the leg muscles where we most commonly hold on to tightness. Feel the weight of the head as you fold forward. Be mindful of your body. Do you feel any pain behind the knees or near the tail bone? If so, bend your knees deeply until that tension is relieved. Only go to your limit. That is your perfect expression of the pose. Advanced: Advanced practicioners can continue to benefit from this posture. To deepen your fold, lay your chest on the thighs as you deeply bend the knees. Now, as you straighten your legs, keep your chest glued to the thighs - the strength here comes from your abdominals and hip flexors. Engage mula bandha as you stretch your upper body towards the earth and your tail towards the sky - feel the expression of perfect opposition.

Warrior I

Beginner: Begin with an awareness of your alignment. Your front knee should bend to be in line with your foot and go no further. This protects the knee from injury. Keep your hips and shoulders even. Is your back leg completely straight? Is your weight evenly distributed across both legs? You should feel all points of your foot pressing into the ground. Advanced: As an advanced practitioner, Warrior I is a strong and confident pose for you. Bring your focus to your tail bone, dropping it down and tucking it under as you lift your chest and shoulders up and back. Feel the energy from your core extend through the sides of your waist and straight up through your arms to your fingertips. Take your gaze up to the fingers, feeling the power of your focus.

Warrior II

Beginner: For now focus on becoming familiar with the physical expression of the pose. Check your alignment - is your bent knee directly over your foot? Is your back leg straight? Are your feet in one line? Drop your shoulders and reach with your fingertips. Feel your body's length. Advanced: Your muscles now know where to take you on the mat. Turn your focus to deepening into the pose. Sink into your hips, opening them slowly by keeping your upper body completely still as you move in and out of the posture. Can you feel your front hip open to allow for this movement? Feel the power of the exhale breath; core is tight; eyes are focused.

Warrior III

Beginner: Warrior III provides another way for the beginner's body to experiment with flight. Abdominals again are very important in this position, keep them engaged as you tilt the whole of the body from vertical towards horizontal. However far you can go into the posture today is fine. The most important part is making the line of the body very straight. Advanced: Your body finds warrior III easily. Think of energizing the whole grounding leg and pushing the body higher with that leg. Keep your hips even. Is the foot and knee of the lifted leg pointing down? Try not to rotate them out. Reach from the sides of the waist through the arms and even the fingers.

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