Exalted Warrior Pose - Amazing Stretch For Your Back and Lower Body

There are several poses in yoga that are great for strengthening your lower body

while simultaneously stretching your whole body. One of our favorites is the exalted warrior pose, or Reverse Warrior or Viparita Virabhadrasana. This pose is a classic in most slow flows, but fits perfectly into any flow. The pose also has many names including reverse warrior, peaceful warrior, exalted warrior, and more! But whatever you want to call it, it is a wonderfully challenging pose that will strengthen and lengthen your body.

This article will take a look at some of the many benefits of the pose, how to properly do the pose, some tips and tricks, and some modifications and variations of the exalted warrior pose. Let’s take a look.

Benefits Of The Exalted Warrior Pose

This pose, like so many poses in yoga, has several benefits when you do it right. Let’s look at some of those benefits here:

  • It strengthens your legs, quads, and glutes. Because you are holding your legs in such a powerful pose, the muscles in your lower body are getting quite the workout. 
  • It stretches your side body and arms. The position in which you hold your arms ensures that you get a nice, opening stretch through your side body, as well as your arms. 
  • It opens the hips. The position in which you hold your legs creates an excellent hip opening stretch that feels great. 
  • It opens the chest. Besides your hips, this pose is great for a chest opening stretch as well.

How To Properly Do The Exalted Warrior Pose

You can check this video from Yoga by Candace 

Here is a step by step guide as to how to do the exalted warrior pose properly and safely:

  1. Begin in Warrior II pose, virabhadrasana II, with your right foot forward and left foot back. Your back foot should be parallel to the back of the mat and perpendicular to your other foot, which should be facing the front of the mat. Your front knee will be bent and your hips should be more or less parallel with the sides of your mat. Keep your back leg extended and engaged.
  2. Turn your front hand (your right in this case) so that your palm is facing upward.
  3. Inhale, reaching your front arm up toward the sky and your bag arm down toward your back leg. Try not to press down onto your back leg or put any weight on it.
  4. Lengthen through your side body and open up through your chest. Breathe deeply as you come into a gentle backbend. 
  5. Your gaze, or drishti, can go up toward your top hand, but make sure not to crane your neck too much. Keep it soft. 
  6. When you are ready to come out of the pose, come back into warrior II and continue with your flow, repeating the pose on the opposite side.

Tips & Tricks

If you are looking for some tips to make sure that exalted warrior is done the correct way and that you are receiving all of the benefits of the pose, then continue reading. Here, we will share with you some tips and tricks that are sure to make your exalted warrior perfect.

  • In order to ensure you are not placing weight on your back leg, you can either turn that palm up on that hand as well or lightly rest your fingertips on your back leg. This will ensure that you aren’t pressing down into the leg and either losing your balance or making the pose much more difficult than it needs to be.
  • You can also bring your back arm straight down in front of you rather than resting it on your back leg. Make sure to keep that arm engaged the whole time.
  • Take deep breaths the entire time you are in the pose. Breathing is the key to yoga, and our lifeline. Connecting each movement to a breath is important in order to ensure that you are getting everything out of your practice that you can. 
  • Keep your core engaged during this pose to avoid injury to your lower back. 
  • If you have neck trouble or you feel dizzy when looking up at your top hand, then you can bring your gaze down to your back foot for more comfort.
  • If you have trouble with your back or a back injury, then you may want to avoid this pose, or modify it as we are going to discuss below. 

Enjoy this 5-minute Warrior Yoga Flow from Beyoutifulliving

Modifications and Variations for Exalted Warrior Pose

There are some modifications that will make this pose a bit easier, as well as some different variations for more of a challenge. We will discuss them here so that you can begin in a modified variation and then work your way up to a more difficult variation by increasing your strength and skills. Let’s take a look at some different modifications and variations.

Easier Modifications

  • If it is difficult for you to hold your legs in that position because it is too tiring, then you can straighten both legs to take the pressure off of your forward leg. 
  • If you are pregnant or cannot support too much pressure on your legs, then try it with your back knee down on the ground. You can still reap many of the benefits, but you don’t have to worry about your legs tiring out or giving way under pressure. 

Different Variation

If you want to deepen this pose and take it a bit further, then try out some of these variations:

  • Take a half bind with your back arm to increase the stretch. Rather than placing your back hand on your leg, you can wrap it around your waist and hook it onto your opposite hip, opening your chest more and deepening your stretch.

Our pose of the week - the exalted warrior pose - is an excellent one to incorporate into your practice. It will help you to increase strength in your lower body, build your stamina, open up your chest, and stretch out your back. It is an extremely popular pose to use in any sort of yoga flow, and if you follow the steps above, you will be doing it perfectly during your own practice.