If you practice yoga, you've probably spent a decent amount of time holding the majestic standing pose Warrior 1. The pose tones the legs and tush, opens tight hip flexors, and strengthens the shoulders. The next time you step onto your mat, make sure you're avoiding these Warrior 1 mistakes that could lead to pain or injury.
Why it's bad: Doing Warrior 1 with a short stance places the knee past the front ankle, which puts excessive pressure on the front knee and interferes with the ability to fully reap the thigh-strengthening benefits of this pose.
What to do: When coming into Warrior 1 from Down Dog, step your foot forward and place in between the hands. If tight hamstrings make this too difficult, step the foot as close as possible, raise the torso up, then adjust your stance from there. You'll know there's enough space between your feet when your front thigh is parallel with the floor and your front knee is directly above your ankle.
Continue reading to find out other mistakes you might be making in Warrior 1.
Why it's bad: When the feet are less than hip-width apart, one hip twists awkwardly behind the other, which could result in pain or a repetitive injury. A narrow stance also makes it difficult to achieve an effective stretch in the hip flexors.
What to do: To remind your feet to remain hip-width distance apart, think of an imaginary line drawn down the center of your mat from the top to the bottom. When doing Warrior 1 on the right side, your right (front) foot should be to the right of that line, and the left (back) foot should be to the left. Also be sure to turn your back toes out 45 degrees to allow the hip to open.
Why it's bad: When raising the arms above the head, scrunching the shoulders up to the ears creates unnecessary strain in the neck and upper back.
What to do: With arms extended up, actively roll the shoulder blades down toward the hips, relax your arms, and create length by lifting the top of your head away from your pelvis.
Why it's bad: Not engaging your ab muscles can cause major lower back pain.
What to do: Be sure to engage your abs by drawing the navel toward the spine. Actively engaging the abs helps support and stabilize the torso.