Relieve Lower Back Pain with Front Warrior

Pose: Front Warrior with Shin Block at the Wall

Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana 1 


How do I prepare for the pose? 

Props

Two blocks. Two sandbags. A  wall or a version of a wall.

Pranayama – Breath work

Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself in the present moment, so you can let go of tension and increase your vitality. 

Step one = Assess

My one-on-one assessment teaches you about body mechanics, joint position, muscular action/reaction, connective tissue health, nervous system health, and bone and spinal alignment. 

Step two = Apply  

Read How do I practice the pose? first. Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly.

When you practice these poses on your own, practice receiving feedback with yoga props, furniture, and walls. Remember to evenly engage muscular effort across joints. Balance opposite actions such as evenly resisting inward at the shins and outward at the thighs. 

Utilize the knowledge you have learned about body mechanics (creating movement with alignment, awareness, breath, and precision) to create energetic openings and deep releases, so you reach your fullest potential in the pose. Small incremental positive changes are gained on the physical level. 

Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes or turn your gaze inward. Feel the feedback you receive from the props and match that with the positive emotion(s) that you want to feel. 

Step three = Activate

Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to retrain your body, mind, heart, and spirit to feel expansive, abundant, positive, and alive. You are learning to transform habituated patterns of thinking, feeling, and being that create constriction and limitations in your mind, body, heart, and spirit. 

Transformational Work activates: 

  • The body to feel energized.
  • The mind to feel open, fresh, and new. 
  • The heart to feel positive emotion(s). 
  • The spirit to feel alive, connected, and free.

Caution  If your back is hurting at any point, mindfully exit the pose the opposite way you entered. If your front knee hurts in any way, take a shorter stance where your front knee is not at a 90 degree angle. If this adjustment does not eliminate the pain in your front knee, mindfully exit the pose the opposite way you entered. You can try the pose with the knee of the back leg on the mat. 


How do I practice the pose? 

  • Set up the mat, with the short edge placed against the wall. 

Apply props for feedback. 

  • Prop-assistance: Place one sandbag at the back of the mat at an angle. Place the second block on the right side of the mat. 
  • Stand in the middle of the mat, facing  the wall. Step your right leg forward and step your left leg back.
  • Position your back left foot at a 30 degree angle, and place the edge of the foot against the sandbag.
  • Bend the front right knee to a 90 degree angle, only if that position is comfortable for the knee. If needed, take a shorter stance to take pressure off the front knee. Adjust the sandbag for the back foot accordingly. 
  • Prop-assistance: Place the block at the lower shin of the right front leg. Balance the block between the shin and the wall. 

Evenly balance opposing actions. 

  • Gently resist the shin into the the block at the wall. 
  • For balance and support, place your hands on the wall. Otherwise take both arms out to the side, shoulder height or take your arms over the head. 

Evenly balance opposing actions. 

  • Lift the sides of your torso upward and draw your rhomboids muscles (inner shoulder blades) towards the spine. Draw your lower shoulder blades downward. 

Evenly balance opposing actions.

  • In the back leg, extend through the inner and outer heel. If it’s difficult to feel those actions, reposition the sandbag at the inner and outer heel, so you feel the inner and outer heel extension.  
  • Lift the right front heel slightly while pressing down through the big toe and spreading out the other toes. This action activates the hamstring muscles. 

 Activate the feet, shins, and legs to power up the hips and core energy. 

  • Prop-assistance: Resist the right lower shin forward into block as your resist your right upper calf backwards. This action takes the weight and effort out of the knee. 
  • Extend the inner and outer heel backwards of the front right foot to activate more of the shin area. 
  • This action activates lower core strength of the abdominal muscles, hips, and lower back. 

Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

Activate core strength.  

  • Prop-assistance: You can add the second sandbag to your right upper thigh. Resist the thigh upward and into the sandbag.
  • In the back leg, pull the quadricep (front thigh) muscle towards the thigh bone (femur). This lifts the kneecap up.
  • Prop-assistance: In the back leg, continue to extend the inner and outer heel into the sandbag. 

Exit the pose. 

  • Remove the block at the shin and the sandbag on the thigh.
  • Step the back leg forward and feel the effects of the pose.
  • Repeat the pose on the second side. 

Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully.

Pause and reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)? 

  • Exhale and let go of what no longer serves you: pain, tension, tightness, anxiety, fear, sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity, separation, and so forth. 
  • Infuse Yourself Now: Inhale and feel what you want to bring into your future such as suppleness, flexibility, strength, freedom, joy, happiness, peace, vitality, loving-kindness, inclusivity, connection, unity, understanding, abundance, love, wealth, good health, and gratitude. 
  • Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

How do I exit the pose? 

  • Inhale and then exhale out of the pose by stepping the back foot forward. 
  • Return to Mountain and feel the effects of the pose.
  • Repeat the pose on the second side. 

 

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