Tag Archives: Iyengar

Warrior 1

Just injured myself while attempting the death defying bread knife mudra — clumsy while irritated.

The writing on the internet about yoga — I should not read before handling sharp objects. The yoga industrial complex reliably annoys me.

But I wanted my toast warm — in which I failed.

Warrior 2 opens the pelvis and pulls the adductors. Warrior 1 is not a variation on 2.

If we understand that Warrior 1 extends the hip flexors, even if we watch plastic man do it, we can align it for us mortals.

Iyengar, Krishnamacharya’s student, like yogis before and since, worked as a performer as well as a teacher. He had supple hip flexors. He could extend his legs back considerably. So he could do Warrior 1 with his front knee at a right angle, his back leg well back, and still rotate his pelvis to face forward, lengthening his already extremely supple hip flexors.

We cannot. We are not plastic man.

Some (on the internet) advise turning the pelvis out in Warrior 1, opening the pelvis away from front, to align the back knee with the back foot. But doing that reduces the pull on the hip flexors and turns Warrior 1 into a variation on Warrior 2.

Instead bend the front knee less and turn the back foot to align the back knee with the hip. This keeps the pose well grounded and preserves the pull on the hip flexors. Lifting the back heel can also help a tight calf.

Iyengar makes challenging source material. Everytime we look at him or follow someone that takes from him uncritically, we must work to understand the purpose of the pose rather than try to copy the look of the pose.