Exalted Warrior - Overview
Beginner: As you learn the sequence, focus on how the movements feel, not on how they look. The body will begin to move where the breath will afford to take you and no further. The breath-body link is called heart-opening link and will help develop strength in muscles we do not typically use - can you feel the tension in your ankles and hip rotators? Be sure to keep your feet parallel to one another. On the inhale breath, focus on the expansion in the chest. On the exhale focus on the contraction, your chin tucked in slightly to elongate your spine.
Advanced: Focus on applying the bandhas on the exhale, allowing yourself to deepen into each pose. On the inhale focus on a long waist and a lifted chest, feeling your energy rising up. Gently guide your mind back to your practice if it wanders. The breath-body link is called heart-opening link. Once you are comfortable opening and closing your arms with breath, begin to focus on your energy. When you inhale extend energy out from your core, letting your tension leave. When you exhale return your hands to heart's center with fresh energy. Feel revitalized and open, ready to begin again.
Beginner: For now focus on becoming familiar with the physical expression of the pose. Check your alignment - is your bent knee directly over your foot? Is your back leg straight? Are your feet in one line? Drop your shoulders and reach with your fingertips. Feel your body's length.
Advanced: Your muscles now know where to take you on the mat. Turn your focus to deepening into the pose. Sink into your hips, opening them slowly by keeping your upper body completely still as you move in and out of the posture. Can you feel your front hip open to allow for this movement? Feel the power of the exhale breath. Your core is tight and eyes are focused.
Beginner: The way that we flow in and out of the Exalted Warrior posture is perfect for a beginning student to learn how to move gracefully with breath. Focus on keeping your legs stable, feet grounding into the earth as you move only your upper body. To move from Warrior II to Exalted Warrior, reach out through your finger tips with a weightless arm; lift your gaze and focus on your front fingers.
Advanced: You now have no trouble keeping a steady base with your legs as your upper body moves into Exalted Warrior. Instead, focus on opposing lines of energy in your arms. While one arm reaches out above your head, the other reaches behind you. Feel all of the muscles in your arms activated as you pull your arms away from center, stretching against one another.
Beginner: Lateral Angle is a great posture for developing strength in your ankles and leg muscles. If it is difficult to bring your hand all the way to the floor, keep your elbow resting on the thigh - but try not to lean too heavily on the thigh. Instead, keep lifting from your core by squeezing your abdominal muscles. Once you feel comfortable here, try it with your hand on the floor or on a block for support. Remember to keep your knee directly above your ankle to avoid pressure on this delicate joint.
Advanced: Now that your hand is planted firmly on the ground, focus on shifting the weight to be evenly spread between your hand and your two feet. Can you push out from each section of your back foot while you push down into your front foot and hand? Squeeze your legs towards one another to relieve pressure from the ankle joints. Reach with your top arm, chin tucked into armpit, gaze lifted. Feel one smooth line of energy from the tips of your top fingers all the way down to the edge of your back foot.
Beginner: Triangle will help you build strength in your legs and ankles while improving your balance and concentration. If straightening your front leg creates an uncomfortable stretch in your hamstring, keep that knee bent while you press through your back leg, super straight. We deepen in triangle by shifting our focus from the earth to our top hand. Careful! It is easy to lose balance here.
Advanced: To deepen your expression of triangle, focus on bringing your chest parallel to the floor as you reach out from center. Squeeze your leg muscles to pull energy through the legs into center. Concentrate on extending the spine parallel to the floor and keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Your fingers are glued together and your chest, open.