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Some yoga poses are invigorating and some are calming. The invigorating moves, including standing poses such as the warrior series, and balancing poses such as the standing big toe pose and half moon pose, are done earlier in the class, while seated poses and twists are done towards the end of a class.
The right yoga instruction will train instructors to teach poses in an appropriate order to prevent injury and maximize the benefits from each pose.
The warrior series (virabhadrasana) is an example of how poses follow a progressive order according to difficulty.
The warrior series works all the major muscle groups: legs, back, shoulders, and arms, but it is especially good for opening the hips. Even beginner classes will likely introduce warrior I, and advanced classes will include warrior II and warrior III.
Keep these points in mind when warriors are part of your yoga teaching:
Warrior I: Square the hips forward and try to keep them even. It helps to think of your hip bones as the headlights on a car.
Warrior II: When you open out sideways into warrior II, concentrate on keeping the hips level and centered. Don't lean too far forward or too far back.
Warrior III: Focus on the external rotation of the hip of the raised leg, keeping both of the arms raised and the standing legs as straight as possible.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|