This is not going to be a long post, nor is it full of anatomical details about the pose. There are better informed people writing the anatomy bits!
These are simply my oberservations.
Understanding Interlock Warrior has helped me unravel my back, engage my muscular system and then to soften and let go into the pose. It has also helped me unravel some of the contortions in my brain and highlight for me the struggles I place upon myself in my effort to get everything absolutely right…phew!
I first did this pose at my first-ever workshop with Ana Forrest. Actually, let’s have some truth-speaking here. Towards the end of the three hours Ana took us into this pose in her usual inimitable way. Her directions are specific, easily digested and make all things possible….eventually! However, I hadn’t reached that eventually bit and also had much to learn about the breath. It would take another two years before I caught on!
I now love doing Interlock Warrior but after training with the Forrest team now know how to sequence my practice in such a way that my body heats up and begins to let go of some of the knotty stuff. I have also discovered the joy of doing many standing poses and holding each for what seems an eternity. My legs tremble, heat up and then into the hips I go. They start to feel spacious and juicy.
Shoulders and the length of the spine also need warming and nurturing.
A young woman who comes to my Forrest Yoga classes says this is one of her favourites because doing it is a gauge of how much her body has strengthened and changed since learning Forrest Yoga. At the start, not a chance and now?
Well it simply happens from Warrior Variation, the top arm slides behind to catch hold of the lower hand than gracefully eases under the thigh, or catch hold of clothing. Breathe deeply down into the lower back and wait in that place and feel, really feel whatever comes up with the breath whilst in this deep place.
For me it is all about directing my breath into those tight places and learning how to breathe away the fear around the pain that I discover. It is about knowing that the longer I stay and the more I tremble the more my legs seem to become those strong, grounded limbs that are designed to support and earth me. Then my spine uncurls from deep inside my pelvis and the energy residing there flows through my sacrum and right up into my brain…joy!
Easing my torso slowly back and up and away from the ground and feeling my shoulders ease away from that tight neck-thing we all do, gives a sense of strength and empowerment. In Forrest Yoga we keep the neck relaxed and release it from the contortions of other ways of yoga. The softer the muscles the more the blood flows into the brain and that has to be a positive!
I practice this pose often and it is different every time. It kind of monitors how I am and always I have to keep releasing my neck and jaw…
At the beginning, in that first encounter with Ana, I and many others simply stood and trembled and muttered. Now I do this wonderful pose from choice..opening my heart and releasing myself to all manner of possibilities.
Ana talks of this pose as being a one where we go into that place of victim and it’s a pose where we whinge a lot. She asks us to find a way to delight and fascinate upon our practice. What turns you on when you step on your mat? These are some of the questions she offers in her teachings.
And so, how to do this wonderful Warrior pose without that victim mentality and with the absolute belief that you are so much better than that! Begin with the breath….make each inhalation deep and full, feeling the ribcage expand and then deep, deep exhalations to really release that old, toxic air.
Can you find a way to delight and savour those moments as you move into the sanctuary-space that is your mat?
“That which is sacred within me, salutes and honours that which is sacred in you.” Namaste.