we have been practising warrior posture this week, experimenting with taking the head back as Mr Iyengar taught and as shown in this photograph. having the shoulders raised and arms extended allows the head to rest comfortably on the ‘shelf’ provided by the shoulders in any standing head back position. this small amendment offers a comfortable solution to the problem of a heavy head and straining neck, if you choose to take the head back.
it serves the breath in an interesting way too, allowing the chest a big vertical opening; the stability of the legs is improved as the back foot roots more deeply; the backward bend is improved as the spine can extend further from head to tail; it leads comfortably to a more physically demanding practice with a loosely attentive freedom and feels deliciously expansive, and more… wonderful!
it’s not that this is right and working with the head level and shoulders loose and down is wrong. this version of the posture is more opening but won’t always fit the bill. like all variations, it teaches us something different about the body which we can use in other postures, and it gives us a new experience in a familiar posture.
you can choose, whichever way of holding the head and arms, you prefer, or suits you today.