- Sanskrit (Original): –
- Etymology: –
- Fun Fact about the pose: This pose is born out of the evolution of yoga into modern day context and is the brainchild of Inside Yoga founder Young Ho Kim.
- Asana Type: Balancing, Standing
- Main length muscle groups: Spinal extensors, hamstrings
- Main strength muscle groups: Front leg: articularis genu, quadriceps, muscles of the foot and leg, gluteus medius and minimus, piriformis; back leg: hamstrings, gluteus maximus; upper body: internal and external obliques, serratus anterior, triceps brachii
- Vinyasa Breath: Inhale
How to Cue the Pose: Step By Step
- 1 Start in Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). So you are balancing on your front leg with the toes facing forward, while your back leg is lifted parallel to the floor with the hip opening up. Your torso is in a side bend parallel to the floor. The fingertips of the front-leg arm are on the floor.
- 2 Bend the knee of your standing leg a bit deeper from here to get into Flying Warrior Pose. Send your body weight more backwards, so that it rests more in the heel of the standing leg. Center your legs by drawing them more toward each other, as if you were gathering force in the center point of your pelvic floor (which is your perineum).
- 3 Inhale to lift the arm of your front-leg side parallel to the floor. The palm faces up to the ceiling and reaches far away from you. Have your gaze gently following the direction of your hand.
- 4 The other arm extends back, floating elegantly above your hips. The palm faces down towards the earth.
- 5 Keep your torso gently rotating upwards.
- 6 Extend the back leg more away from you while you are pointing the foot.
Working The Details: Alignment In The Pose
- Grow roots to fly: Ground through the foot and imagine roots spreading into the earth down below you. Find a steady point for your gaze and use these two principles to create an effortless feeling of floating the rest of the body on top.
- Expand in all directions: Become aware of all the directions that your body is reaching out into the space surrounding you. The front arm reaches front and up, the back arms extend back and more downwards. The crown of the head expands to the front while the back leg and foot work exactly into the opposite direction to lengthen your torso. All the while the standing leg is anchoring down into the earth, offering a basis for the pose. Integrate all these spatial observations into your pose to experience its full energetics.
- Engage in the dance: Reaching the front arm forward while simultaneously pushing the back foot and arm in opposite directions is like a little dance. Balance these two actions and add the gentle rotation of the torso once in a while. Observe which action comes easier to you and guide more attention to the others.
- Use visualization: Imagine yourself to be an agile and weightless warrior who can move as soft and quiet as a cat in the night. I promise you, this will change the energetics of the pose immediately.
Adapting The Pose Through Modifications
- Keep your front arm supported if you need this to find your balance. You could place the fingertips onto the ground, on a block or even on a chair to gain more stability and/or height.
- Place the back foot against a wall for your reference. This can help you to find extra stability, but even more to extend your back leg further by pushing the big toe actively into the wall.
- Place a chair at the end of your mat and rest your back leg onto the chair. Press down into the chair to practice the centering action of the legs. Then extend the foot to the back end of the mat.
- Alter the angle in which you bend your standing knee. You can experiment with a really deep bend and then gradually soften it to a very tiny bend. Work vice versa from a mild bend to a deeper bend. Be sure to work your leg muscles as smoothly as possible while making these adjustments. This will not only give you a different feeling of the pose in each level but also improve your leg muscle strength and educate the muscles encompassing your knee towards more stabilization.
- Work the pose in transitions, as this is the invention of the dynamic Inside Yoga Vinyasa and Inside Flow style. Play with Flying Warrior Pose by combining it with poses like Ardha Chandrasana, Virabhadrasana II and III and experiment with all the different ways of getting in and out of the pose as gracefully and warrior-like as possible.
Benefits of Flying Warrior
- Flying Warrior is a great pose to improve your balance and focus as well as core stability. This will benefit you in a variety of other sports as well as your every-day activities.
- Apart from that, it also strengthens the entire body, especially the thighs, ankles and feet. It also is a great stretch for the hamstrings. So, if you’re a runner or cyclist with tight hamstrings, the yoga pose Flying Warrior can be very beneficial for you.
- This pose also helps you to open up your chest and shoulders.
- Due to the challenge it provides for your coordination and sense of balance, you will also find that it relieves stress and helps you clear your mind.
Pose VariationsSee all Poses
Pose variations can be anything that makes the original pose easier or more simple but also anything making it more challenging or adding complexity.
Ardha Baddha Chandrasana
Bound Half Moon Pose
Bound Flying Warrior
Preparatory PoseSee all Poses
Preparatory poses are poses that have a similar shape to the pose you want to prepare for but maybe in a different alignment towards gravity and/or poses that target specific body areas to warm up, stretch or strengthen in order to lead to the final pose. Include preparatory poses when you build yoga sequences.
Counter PoseSee all Poses
Counter poses serve to balance the body back into neutral after a pose or a set of same poses. E.g. symmetrical poses balancing asymmetrical poses, forward folds or twists balancing backbends, balancing challenging poses with restorative poses. Use counter poses to build sequences that feel amazing – you can use our free Sequence Builder tool to get started.
Flying Warrior for me is a great expression of the creativity that is imprinted in the yoga practice. It basically manifests the evolution of asana practice by combining the best of the Warrior and Halfmoon Poses. It leaves me with a very elegant feeling when practicing the form.
Content Manager at TINT | Passionate Yoga Teacher
FAQ: Common questions about this pose
The hip of the leg stretching to the back, which is your top hip, rotates externally. This means that you are stacking the hips more on top of each other and lift the frontal hip bone up and away from the floor. The toes are facing sideways and you are outwardly rotating your thighbone (femur).
As this pose is like a mash-up or medley of poses, it includes all different kinds of actions – all in one pose. While the positioning of the legs originates from Half Moon Pose, the position of the torso is a mix of Half Moon Pose and Warrior III. The arms and gaze are similar to Warrior II pose, yet the front palm is facing up. Integrating all these actions makes up Flying Warrior Pose.
The top leg originates from Half Moon Pose and thus should work on opening up the hips by stacking them more on top of each other. Naturally, the hip tends to close and the thighbone to roll down, so this is the action you want to work against.
Flying Warrior Pose can be held anything from one or two breaths to holding it for ten breaths or more. Initially, Flying Warrior was created to work in Vinyasa Flows, so it would work according to the principle of one breath one movement. However, if you are new to the pose or want to really deep-dive into the details and embody it, the recommendation would be to hold it for 5-10 breaths longer and to really enjoy its benefits.
The answer to this question can be quite confusing. The original yoga text states that yoga comes from one source. However, the reality is that there are many different styles of yoga, which also have evolved and adapted over time. Some stick very close to the original and traditional teachings and some have incorporated new learnings and poses into their style. This aspect and the fact that many of the same yoga poses are known and taught under a variety of different names, depending on the style of yoga, account for the possibility that you can find more than one yoga pose assigned to one name – or one yoga pose with a whole lot of different names to it.