Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dive into Devotional Warrior

November Krama-rama: Devotional Warrior

by Rebecca Merritt

Devotional Warrior, though not a traditional yoga asana, is a pose that you have probably come across many times in your practice. When this came up as the pose of the month, I reached out to my teacher Jenny Gammello to see if there was a Sanskrit name for Devotional Warrior I was forgetting. We discussed that there isn’t one because Devotional Warrior is a krama; a transitional pose on the way to poses like lizard or yogi foot behind the head. Jenny encouraged me to honor it even so, saying, “Evolution of the form is as beautiful and important as the traditional roots.”

In Sanskrit, krama means: in order, one after another, or gradually. So Devotional Warrior is a stepping stone to deeper variations of the same shape. November is a perfect time to explore the idea of being on your way to something, but not yet being at the potential end goal. In yoga, we are taught to be in the moment, we do not practice to get any where but instead to value where we are right now. November is a time to appreciate our blessings and give thanks. It is a chance to look back and see the steps we’ve taken in order to get where we are, but more so, to find gratitude in the present moment.

This November, take the time to be a Devotional Warrior, honoring your evolution but also your perfect, present self. 

How To:

1. From Downward Facing Dog step the right foot forward between your hands. On your inhale, bend the front knee, pivot the back foot, and rise up into Warrior I. You may want to step the right foot out slightly wider to the right, encouraging uddiyana bandha to help keep your balance.

2. On your exhale, swim the arms behind you and clasp the hands. Inhale and straighten the arms, rolling the shoulder blades down your back to meet, to lift and open the heart. All the while, keep a bend in the front knee.

3. Ground into the feet, as you exhale, hinge at the hips and fold forward to the inside of your right thigh. Draw the hands up and over the head to stretch the shoulders.

4. Hold the pose for five breaths. Keep drawing your right hip back to deepen the stretch.

5. To come out of the pose, release the arms and inhale back to Warrior I. Transition into Downward Facing Dog and repeat on the left side.


- Stretches and strengthens shoulders.
- Stretches and strengthens the thighs, calves and ankles.
- Good hip opener to prepare for deeper postures.
- Helps improve focus. 

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