Vīrabhadrāsana 4 (Warrior 4)
- Stand straight with your feet together, in tāḍāsana
- Step your right foot back about 4 feet
- Turn your foot out 45 degrees to the side
- Bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle
- Keep the hips and torso facing to the side
- Raise your arms up at shoulder level and reach out
- Slide your right hand down the right side and lift the left arm over your head
- Stay for 5 breaths
Asana in Depth
Vīrabhadrāsana 4, also known warrior 4, is the fourth pose of the warrior sequence. It is a strengthening standing pose and a great hip open and groin stretcher. It also stretches the side of the body and the abdomen.
Start by standing straight with the feet together, in tāḍāsana. Then step your right foot back around 4 feet. Place the foot flat on the floor at a 45 degree angle. Your left toes will be facing to the front. Ensure that the heels are aligned with eachother, and then bend your left knee at a 90 degree angle, keeping the knee over the ankle. Keep the right leg straight by engaging the thigh, lifting the knee cap up, and pressing the outer edge of the foot into the mat. Here you can imagine stretching both groins away from each other; the right one stretching back to the right, and the left one stretching forward to the left. Turn both knees and thighs outward and away from each other, broadening the pelvis. Tuck your tailbone under and keep the belly in. Lift the chest up and lengthen the torso away from the pelvis. Raise your arms up at shoulder level, keeping the shoulders away from the ears, and reach out to either side with your arms. Slide your right hand down your thigh on the right side, and left the left arm up over the head, reaching for the back of the room. Ensure that your left knee stays bent. It is recommended to stay here for at least five deep breaths. Then repeat the same on the other side.
As a variation to this posture you can bring the right hand down the side of the body and then bring it onto your upper left thigh from behind, tucking it in between the torso and the thigh. This is a great way to open the chest and draw the right shoulder back. The left arm remains the same, reaching out over the head.
One of the benefits of this posture is that it is strengthening the legs. In particular the thighs, the knees and the ankles, as the back leg is fully engaged during the post. It also strengthens the arms and upper back, as it requires a great amount of effort to hold the arm up over the head. It opens the hips and stretches the groins. It stretches the abdomen and the side of the body, and helps in building internal strength and energy.
The contraindications for this pose are knee injuries, hip injuries and neck injuries.
- Strengthens the thighs, knees and ankles
- Strengthens the upper back, shoulders and arms
- Stretches the abdomen, chest and groin
- Energises and builds emotional strength
- High blood pressure
- Knee, hip or neck injuries
- Tones the quadriceps femoris
- Tones trapezius muscles
- Stretches thigh adductor
- Stretches groin
- Stretches external and internal oblique
- Stretches triceps