peaceful warrior (shanti warrior)by Jeffrey Posner
Peaceful Warrior, also known as shanti (peace) warrior, is perfect to transition into from Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II). This pose is still strong like Warrior II, but it also adds some grace. The pose itself consists of a standing pose and a backbend rolled into one. It is common to hold this pose for one long inhale before then moving onto the next. It’s what I like to call a great “connector” pose. There are a few poses that allow the movements to flow and bring a different aspect to the practice. Peaceful Warrior is one of those poses.
Begin in Virabhadrasana II. While still in this pose, you want to make a few preparations to transition into Peaceful Warrior. Make sure your arms are in a straight line. Twist your front hand so your palm is facing up. Keep your shoulders back and down. Keep your back knee loose but straight – in other words, you don’t want it to be locked. Keep your front knee bent as it is in Virabhadrasana II.
Inhale as you bring your front arm up and back. You are extending your torso and arm as you lean back. Don’t bend too far, this pose is more about extending up and over than about bending. Keep your chin tucked and your head next to your arm. At the same time you are extending up, you are sliding the back hand down your back leg. Don’t push down on the leg, but let your hand gently rest on it. Use your abdomen muscles to hold your body in this pose. Keep your weight spread evenly across both of your feet. Hold this pose for a few cycles of breath.
Slowly bring yourself back up to a neutral spine while exhaling. From here you can go back into Warrior II or cartwheel the arms to the ground and come into a low lunge. Inhale stepping it back to plank pose and then exhale and take the hips high into downward facing dog.
Don’t forget about the other side! Step into Warrior II on the other side with the opposite leg in front and transition into Peaceful Warrior following the same instructions above.
Improves back flexibility and back pain
Strengthens your legs, feet and abdomen muscles
Opens the hips
Stretches the arms
Lengthens and stretches the torso and spine