Warrior poses are an integral component of many yoga flows and serve to stretch and strengthen muscles in your legs, hips, groin, arms, shoulders and back. They also help improve balance to help manage everyday challenges more easily; Warrior I (Virabhadrasana 1) in particular stretches from your psoas up through chest area while opening frontal spine area for breathing improvement.
Longer periods of yoga practice can help develop focus and discipline. By tuning into both your physical and mental sensations, it helps identify needs versus desires - an invaluable skill when staying present both inside and outside the studio.
At home or in class, your teacher can guide you through each pose; but here are a few easy steps you can follow to work towards this foundational posture:
Put both feet wider than your hips together, pressing into each corner firmly with each foot. Turn out your right knee to an acute 90-degree angle so the thigh parallel to the floor and ankle stack over is. Press into your back foot and engage core stabilization techniques for knee and hip support. Finally, raise both arms up to shoulder height with palms facing each other and gaze either forward or slightly up.
Gaining strength and balance to perform this basic warrior pose takes strength and balance; your arms may move back and forth as you try to maintain stability. To ease into it more slowly, try starting from standing poses such as Mountain Pose (Tadasana). In this version of Mountain Pose you can even bring your hands closer to heart center in Prayer Pose; or rest them down by the sides for Airplane Pose if balance remains an issue.