Above is a common Yoga standing pose called Warrior I. This pose reminds me that I’m stronger than I think. We all have the days that we feel weaker, less inspired or perhaps we just forget that all the gusto we’re looking for lives right inside of us. This pose focuses on strong legs, steady hips and core, long arms, and a big, open chest.
From downward facing dog, inhale your right leg high. As you exhale, step your right foot forward, spin your back foot down and inhale your torso up. From this basic moment in the pose, you can begin to play with awareness. Is your back leg truly straight? You should feel the outer edge of your back leg getting longer as the outer edge of your back foot glues to the ground. Allow your front knee to bend right over your toes and even roll your knee slightly toward your pinky toe to make sure your thigh is working. In this pose, your hips are meant to be squared or facing forward, but to play with that, make sure you have enough space between your feet. You might need to slide one foot or the other further out to the side. This is perfectly OK.
The belly and the tailbone are both drawing in towards each other, helping you feel stable. On a deep, big inhale, fill up your chest and heart and breathe your arms up alongside your ears. On an exhale, allow your shoulders to slide down and away from your ears. With each breath, you will be dancing back and forth between effort and energy and relaxing to create space.
Part of what makes this pose so engaging is that it is a constant work in progress. Right when you have focused on your legs, you need to reengage your arms. Right when there is stability in your core, you need to shift your hips more to face forward. If all that attention has made the expression in your face intense or even frustrated, you have to remind yourself to smile or at least breathe so you’re not needlessly holding tension.
It’s this exact dynamic that reminds me of the warrior that I am. A warrior never stops his or her work. There is always a process, a challenge at hand. And a true warrior of life is the person that can do it dynamically, continually, and with confident curiosity.