Warrior Yoga Class

Whilst traveling around majestic Scotland this past October and learning more about the country’s rich history, I was once again inspired by the idea of “warrior”. The ancient peoples of Scotland were fearsome warriors who were nearly unbeatable when they united behind a cause and when they felt earnest conviction for a mission. Many other cultures have given history strong warriors as well that have carved pieces of history. The mental image of a powerful warrior, working to defend, to make change, and stopping at nothing to see justice done is riveting, but also thought-provoking. What if we harnessed some of that warrior determination, stamina, energy, and dedicated it towards the causes and missions that are important to us in our lives?

Now, before I go further, let me disclaim that I am not by any means suggesting we should all become traditional warriors like the ones mentioned above; we should practice ahimsa (non-violence) as much as we can –always if we can. What I mean to say, however, is that we could take that same ferocity of a warrior and apply to our individual and group missions in life. We could use that warrior fire to fuel and to manifest change and positivity in our world. Truth be told, we may need to be our most “warrior” selves now more than ever.

One of the best things about yoga, in my opinion, is the fact that in many types of yoga we include an intention or dedication within the yoga practice. We dedicate the practice and the energy within the practice to something beyond ourselves, giving that something greater strength, even a higher likelihood of manifestation. We also have a lot of warrior poses in yoga! And so, when I came back from Scotland, creatively touched by the concept of “warrior”, I was resolved to teach a yoga class themed around warrior poses and warrior energy!

In this Warrior Yoga Class, we move through all of the Vinyasa Yoga Warrior Poses (at least the ones I know): Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Warrior 3, Humble Warrior, Reverse Warrior, and Exalted Warrior. These poses are poses of power and strength, and so the idea is that as we come into these postures, and through the practice in general, we harness that powerful energy and send it to an intention that represents a cause or mission. Said mission or cause can be anything that you feel passionate about; providing for your family, a cause you volunteer your time for, the type of work you do. Simply choose something that you can stand behind and act as a knight, a soldier, a champion, a warrior for, then take all of that warrior energy from the practice and send it onto your cause or mission and start to see it strengthened further out in the world.

My students really seemed to enjoy this class when I taught it. This challenging sequence performed to a powerful and moving Celtic-tinged playlist inspired by my imaginings of those Scottish Warriors really made this class feel strong and impactful!
Now, below is the sequence of postures for my Warrior Yoga Class!

*DISCLAIMER* PLEASE NOTE: I am simply listing out the sections and the postures in the order that I taught them. In an effort to keep this post simple and readable, I am not including transitions, breath cues, and the like. If you are attempting this practice straight off of this blog, you should already have a strong yoga practice and understanding of the practice, or else be a yoga instructor yourself. Yoga instructors are welcome to take elements of this sequence or teach it as is! All practice at their own risk.

INTEGRATION:
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Table Top (All Four’s Pose)
• Cat & Cow
• Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svasana)
• Right leg high and stretch out left hamstring, switch to left leg high and stretch out right   hamstring
• Rag Doll (Uttanasana)
• Standing at Attention/Equal on All Sides Pose (Samastitahi)

SUN SALUTATION A:
• Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
• Baby Back Bend (Anuvittasana)
• Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
• Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
• Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
• High Plank (Dandasana)
• Lower to Flow
• Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
• High Plank (Dandasana)
• Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Repeat Mountain, Back Bend, Forward Fold, Halfway Lift 2x then…
• Add Chaturangas instead of High Plank
• Upward Facing Down (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) to Downward Facing Dog

SUN SALUTATION B:
• Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
• Vertical Twist Right, then Left
• Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
• Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Chaturanga
• Right Leg High
• Knee to Nose
• Right Leg High
• Low Lunge
• Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
• Bind with hands behind back
• Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana )
• Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)
• Extended Side Angle (Parsvakonasana)
• Uttitha with top arm
• Uttitaha with bottom arm
• Reverse Warrior (Parivrtta Virabhadrasana)
• Low Lunge
• Standing Splits
• Jiva Squat
• High Plank (Dandasana)
• Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog
• Repeat on Left Side
• Repeat entire sequence on both sides again 2 more times

CORE CULTIVATION:
• Extended Crunches
• Bicycle Sit Ups
• Leg Lowers and Lifts
• Stretches after Core

STRENGTH PART 1:
• Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
• Eagle on the left (Garudasana )
• 1 Legged Mountain Pose (Eka Pada Tadasana)
• Low Flying Crescent/Crescent Plane (left leg back)
• Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
• Vertical Twist to the right
• Exalted Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
• Revolved Cresent Lunge (Parivrtta )
• Low Lunge
• High Plank (Dandasana )
• Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
• Chaturanga to Upward Facing Dog to Downward Facing Dog
• Repeat again with Eagle on the right and right leg back for the rest

STRENGTH PART 2:
• Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)
• Hands to Heart Center
• Airplane Pose (Dakasana )
• Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3 )
• Forward Fold (Uttanasana )
• Halfway Lift (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Repeat other side

PLAYTIME:
• Handstand (Adho Vrksasana)

COOL DOWN:
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Half Pigeon on both sides (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana )

SPINE:
• Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana )
• Bound Locust Pose (Salabhasana )

FOLDS:
• Seated Forward Folds (Paschimottanasana)

FINALS:
• Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
• Supine Twists (Supta Jaṭhara Parivartānāsana )
• Final Savasana

BONUS! Here is my Celtic-themed Playlist to go along with the Scottish Warrior theme!

Celtic Playlist 1

Celtic Playlist 2

Celtic Playlist 3

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