Costa Rica Yoga JournalMark Goldstein

Warrior Pose

warrior 1
Warrior 1

By Mark Goldstein

It’s November now, and hopefully the rainy season is behind us. Now is the time for those of us that live here in Manuel Antonio to get ready for our upcoming busy season. There are moldy things to air out, supplies to gather, and people to welcome right around the corner. It’s time to climb out of the mud and charge forward!

This month’s pose of the month: Warrior Pose.

Playa Yoga


There are a few different warrior poses in yoga, and we will get into a bit of that in a moment. First, I would like to explain some of the concepts behind these poses. Traditionally yoga takes it’s names and meanings from Hindu texts and the Sanskrit language. Warrior pose in Sanskrit is named Virabhadrasana. Virabhadra is the name of a very fierce warrior in Hindu mythology. He is pictured to have a thousand heads, a thousand arms and legs and wielding a thousand swords and clubs. This is simply the origin of the name, and not meant to conjure up the need to act violently. In fact, practicing these warrior stance are meant to be an opportunity to guide us in our victories over ignorance and ego.

Physically, warrior poses are very strong poses. They can serve to strengthen our arms, shoulders, and especially our legs. Warrior poses are very active poses, and all of us can do them, we just need to practice the ones that are available to us now, and build our practices as we commit to advancing.

Some of my students have asked if yoga is about centering, and delving deep into our own bodies and our own experience, then why do we include such aggressive postures with such an aggressive name? To that I explain that warrior poses are strong poses that should feel more in tune with: “I am here, my entire being is alive and planted firmly in the ground, my body open and strong and taking up a whole bunch of space”. This is very different than if we feel like we are in an aggressive threatening stance, as the name may suggest.  We are not trying to feel like: “ Come on I want to fight you”, rather “ If something does come at me, I can handle it”. It should feel very empowering.

So let’s take a look at Warrior One.

warrior 2
Warrior 2

In this pose we are facing our bodies forward, but more importantly, we are lifting ourselves up by reaching into the sky. Our feet are planted firmly, there is equal weight pressed into both legs, therefore we are not really lunging forward, but firmly establishing our ground. By doing this, our hips, our torsos, can sink down. Our chests lift and open as our hands, alive with energy, reach up high. At the same time we allow our shoulder blades to slide down our spines, by pressing our shoulders away from our ears. Try it, it’s very powerful when you do it all at once.

If your shoulders are up around your ears, or your face is scrunched up, let it go. Breath deeply into it. Each breath in, release more, reach higher, and open your heart more. Each exhalation, sink your hips lower as you press more into both legs. Like I have written before, try to feel less like a body builder, and more like a dancer; less balling up and shaking, and more length and strength. Warrior two is similar, and warrior three adds and element of balance and extension. Warrior poses are powerful and important and can be a part of any yoga practice, from gentle classes to very vigorous vinyasa flow practices.

warrior 3
Warrior 3

I will be focusing on warrior poses in my classes this month as we forge our way into our new season. I offer my yoga here at our brand new wellness retreat, PranaVida Wellness. I offer private group and individual yoga classes to both visitors and residents. As well, we offer Thai Yoga Massage, and other healing modalities. If you would like to set up a yoga class or massage please see my ad under PranaVida Wellness here in Quepolandia.

Yoga can be a wonderful part of your life, and I hope that I can be a part of opening that up to you.

Mark Goldstein lives in Manuel Antonio, and is originally from the United States. He is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Instructor of Thai Massage and a Yoga Instructor. Mark is the owner of PranaVida Wellness and Playa Yoga Costa Rica here in Manuel Antonio. For information call 88-38-69-60 or