Punk Rock Yoga–Open Hearted Warrior Pose

Open Hearted Warrior

By Kimberlee Jensen Stedl and Todd Stedl

This pose is a partner pose. Designate one partner as Partner A and another as Partner B as you go through the steps.

From: Yoga with a Friend: Develop trust, communication, strength, and compassion when you practice yoga with a partner by Kimberlee Jensen Stedl and Todd Stedl. See more excerpts and buy a copy today.

  1. Begin with Partner A and Partner B standing, facing away from each other.
  2. Both partners step their right foot forward two feet, staggering their back feet so their left feet are in line with each other, but a few inches apart.
  3. The left feet should be angled so that the toes point to roughly eleven o’clock.
  4. Each partner should line their front heel up roughly with the arch of their back foot.
  5. Keeping their hips squared towards their front leg, both partners bend their front knees, keeping their back legs straight, coming in to Warrior 1 pose.
  6. Both partners keep their abdominal muscles and gluteus muscles strong, pulling their hips forward and pointing their tailbone down to avoid overarching the lower back and to create a greater opening in the hip flexors on the back leg.
  7. Both partners reach their hands back and clasp their partner’s hands.
  8. Using the security of the hand clasp, both partners extend their chests forward away from each other to create a great chest opener.
  9. Hold this pose for four breath cycles before switching feet.

Open Hearted Warrior is a strong chest opener. It stretches the pectoral muscles in the chest and the anterior deltoid in the shoulder. With our daily work activities, such as working at a computer, these muscles stay contracted throughout the day and get really tight, making chest openers very important to maintain balance in the body. This pose also stretches the hip flexors that get very tight with the amount of sitting most of us do throughout the day, which keeps the hip flexors in constant state of contraction. Hip flexors also give us power for activities such as hiking and biking, but they can cause lower back pain if they are too tight.

Symbolism: The symbolism of Open Hearted Warrior comes from the dichotomy inherent in the name. We often think of warriors as angry, but if we consider the term warrior in a broader sense, as someone who fights for justice and against oppression, then this pose is a tribute to those warriors. When practicing with a partner, this pose symbolizes the courage it takes to open your heart, which can be scarier than fighting even the toughest opponent.

This pose is a variation on Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1).

From Yoga with a Friend: Develop trust, communication, strength, and compassion when you practice yoga with a partner by Kimberlee Jensen Stedl and Todd Stedl. See more excerpts and buy a copy today.

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