This is one of my favorite postures. I love the grounded feeling the the lower body and feeling the stretch of the waist and ribs.
In Reverse Warrior Pose, we experience a freeing myofasical release of the lateral line. The tissue along the ribs, abdomen, and hips lengthen and become more pliable.
What I appreciate about this posture is the increase in rib mobility (intercostal muscles) and the effect on the diaphragm.
When working with clients with persistent pain in the pelvic, back, shoulder, or neck pain, I see the body’s tendency to protect by increasing stiffness and rigidity in the body. The rib cage is a place where we tend to hold ourselves tightly, especially if we are wearing sports bras or other compressive garments.
We can free the breath, via the ribs and spine. This decreases superficial muscle over-activity and works towards reprogramming the nervous system towards more parasympathetic activity (rest and digest).
An additional challenge is asking our body to balance when we look up toward the hand. Our proprioceptive system is used to looking towards the horizon or down toward our phone, unless we work or have daily activities that get us out of this tendency.
Create the physical shape of Reverse Warrior
All postures have a physical shape and an energetic feel. Here are instructions on how to achieve the physical shape of the posture.
- Start in Warrior 2, like this:
- If your right knee is bent, keep it bent as you bend from your waist, lifting your right arm overhead.
- Think of lifting your ribs up and away from your waist and lower body.
- Option to look up at your hand.
- Your left hand can rest gently on your leg.
- Inhale and exhale for 5–10 breaths and then try the other side.
Make Reverse Warrior work for you
The beauty of a yoga practice is its flexibility (no pun intended!). That is, you can make adjustments to the positioning and use props. Try some of the variations below and make it work for you!
Use a wall
Balance challenges? No fear. You can perform Reverse Warrior with your back against the wall.
Ease in your neck
Looking up at your hand can feel uncomfortable for some people. Feel free to look straight ahead with the intention of lifting your head and neck up towards the sky.
Why choose Reverse Warrior?
Reverse Warrior increases flexibility of the:
- Rib cage
- Obliques (abdominal muscles)
- Inner thigh
This posture challenges your balance. You have the opportunity to practice grounding through the lower body while floating the upper body up off the waist. Looking up creates a greater balance challenge.
Who is this posture good for?
This posture is particularly helpful for managing constipation. Sometimes our day to day movement is more forward and less side to side.
The large intestine comes up the right side of the body, takes a 90 degree turn to continue across, then takes another 90 degree turn to come down the left side.
Sometimes our day to day movement is more forward and less side to side. Expanding and breathing with this sidebending posture may encourage the digestive process.
Allowing the sides of the body to stretch also may help with overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, dysmenorrhea, and endometriosis. Anytime we are affecting the spine or diaphragm will have a direct affect on the pelvis.
Additionally, most adults need more opportunities to move in a variety of ways as we are often stuck in prolonged sitting postures during the day. This is a posture that you don’t need to get down on the ground for and can easily do at your cubicle.
Enjoy and move easefully!