Warrior One - correct back foot position

Different teachers teach different positions for the back foot. But surely the right angle is important for the safety of the knee!

I think that it has to be at an angle with the front foot that makes it about five to twelve (or five past), which is how Rachel teaches it. That makes it easy to pull the back hip forward without twisting and potentially damaging the knee. Also it should be a little bit out to the side of the front foot, creating a broad base, with “space” for the hips when facing forwards.
Fiji, however, who is so particular about all the poses, seems to always use the same position for the back foot in Warrior one and two - she moves from Warrior two to one without mentioning repositioning the foot. Now I love Fiji, (you are one of my absolute favorites and I practice with you regularly!), but this has been bugging me for years now.
So I thought I’d open up the discussion here.

David, do you have any thoughts on this?


I too have wondered about this! Hoping for clarity! :slight_smile:


Yes, interesting question. I haven’t actually noticed Fiji holding the same back foot position for both warrior 1 and warrior 2 poses. Do you happen to remember the video(s) where she does this?

You are correct that there are variations on how warrior one is taught, depending on the teacher and style. I think it’s safe to say that there is no ‘wrong’ way to do it, but from my perspective, the best way for optimal anatomical positioning is the way you described it, @valeriefrench. There are more subtleties, of course, but you got it right.

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Hi David, I have now actually had trouble finding an example :blush: Although I seem to think it always comes up.
One of the older videos - “Foundations in Flow” at Minute 32’54" is exactly what I mean.

This is the first time that I have actually written anything on the site and I also wanted to say that you have built up the best Yoga website that I have ever come across. I have been practising on and off for years with a lot of your videos.
You are fantastic. You so have the yoga spirit and you put so much love and dedication out into the world. I have a deep and true respect for your energy.
I recommend you to anyone that wants ideas of how and when to practise yoga. I live and teach yoga in Germany …and even my german friends and students benefit from your clear and beautifully instructed videos.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every inch of effort that you put into this site.
May you be blessed with much positive karma!
I hope for many more years of practising with you.


Oh yes, you are absolutely right. That’s interesting. I wonder if Fiji has something to say about that. I’ll see if she can jump in here to comment.

I often think that is has less to do with exact positioning of the foot and more to do with the energy or intention in the leg and hip (ie, you can have the foot in the same position but in W2 externally rotate from the hip and in W1 internally rotate).

The rest of your email left me speechless. :slight_smile: Wow.

It’s amazing to know that you appreciate what we are doing. Thank you so much for sharing and for telling your friends!


Hi Valerie, Thank you so much for taking the time to engage with your community here on the site, we all learn so much from each other in discussions like this. In my regular weekly classes I have a verbal cue that my students have heard a million times over in regards to the foot placement " draw the heel 2 inches up" I cue this when moving from warrior 1 to warrior 2. The foot position in warrior 1 is at a 45 degree angle, approximately, and the foot position for warrior 2 draws the heel forward so the outer edge runs parallel to the back of the mat. I think I spend more time going over this in the classes on the site labeled beginner. The positioning does have to do with safety of the back knee and the attempted turn forward in the pelvis. Rather than trying to push the back hip forward try to hug the front hip in a medial fashion toward the middle of the mat, then the back hip can glide up more easily without putting the knee in jeopardy of twisting.


Thanks so very much Fiji for taking time to answer my post.
I feel very honored. l love your videos, your teaching style, your sincerity and heartfulness, I am so grateful - thankyou, thankyou, thankyou - you are a regular guest in my living-room and my family recognise your voice :joy:

“try to hug the front hip in a medial fashion toward the middle of the mat, then the back hip can glide up more easily without putting the knee in jeopardy of twisting” : this tip is excellent, thank you!

I still have a problem with the foot placement because of the spacing between the feet width-wise.
If you just pull the heel up a bit then the feet are still basically the same width apart…but in warrior two the front heel is best opposite the arch of the back foot, (or not?) and in warrior one best out a bit to the side for stability in the base. Well at least for me…I consider Warrior one actually quite an advanced pose in itself, because of the foot, knee and hip alignment and the question of base stability…and then of course the positioning of the lower back, which often isn’t flexible enough for the ensuing backbend…etc. When I have beginners, I teach them to take a much smaller step to the back of the mat, in W.one than in W.two…then it is easier to practise the alignment and get the feel of where the posture is “meant to be heading”.
And in my own practise I always have to juggle my feet a bit between these two asanas…which hinders my flow. I therefore prefer the high-lunge to W.two flow than One to Two.
Does this make sense. or have I been practising wrong, or missing bsomething basic for years?? :blush:

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Hi Valerie,

First off, I love your thinking and how you offer an experience to students that lets them taste where the pose is going. The next thing to consider is that the alignment principals are there for a basis in the pose, safety and optimal flow of energy. In my opinion there is room for subtle variations on alignment based on our own skeletal variations and balance capabilities. I have been instructed a few different ways on this pose and tend toward a heel to heel alignment for warrior 1 and then it turns more to heel to arch when I pull the back heel forward for warrior 2.