Warrior II Pose / Virabhadrasana II
Step by Step
- From Tadasana take a big step back with your left leg.
- Point your right toes towards the front of the mat and turn your left foot in slightly (towards the same direction as the right foot) about 45/60 degrees.
- Stand with your legs straight, press the 4 corners of your feet into the floor, and firm your legs up.
- Inhale as you raise your arms parallel to the floor, keeping your shoulders down and your neck long.
- Exhale as you bend your right knee, keeping your knee over your ankle, not past it.
- Aim your right thigh parallel to the floor. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust your legs, and bring them further apart.
- Heel to heel alignment. Check the alignment of your right knee - keep it over the ankle and line it up more or less with your 2 first toes.
- Roll the top of your thigh down towards the floor on the right. Press down through your big toe to balance that action.
- Press the top of your left thigh back, and ground the outside of your left foot into the floor.
- Engage the sides of your hips and elongate evenly through the four sides of your spine. Draw your abdomen gently in and up, keeping your diaphragm soft.
- Extend through your collarbones and fingertips, and elongate evenly through the four sides of your neck.
- Look out over your right arm. Your body should be at a right angle with the floor, with your shoulders over your hips.
- To come out of the pose, press into your feet, and on an inhalation straighten your leg.
- Change the orientation of your feet to the other side and repeat on the left side.
- To prevent the front knee from collapsing inwards, wrap the muscles around the outer hip to externally rotate the leg.
- To prevent the ribs from flaring out, engage the core and draw the tailbone down towards the mat, which also keeps the lower back long.
- Opens the hips
- Stretches the inner thighs, groin, chest, lungs and shoulders
- Strengthens the legs
- Alleviates painful conditions around the sacrum
- Increases stamina
Watch out for
- Keep openness across your chest by gently drawing your shoulder blades together.
- Be aware of the opposite movements of the thigh bones in each leg - the front leg externally rotates (engage your outer thigh muscles to stabilise the leg) - the back leg internally rotates (engage your inner thigh muscles to stabilise the leg).
- Experiment with a moving variation of Warrior II - on an inhalation straighten the front leg and raise your arms above your head - on an exhalation bend the front leg again until the knee is over the heel and lower your arms parallel to the floor.
- Continue this strengthening, dynamic variation for 5-10 rounds of breath.
- Try in Class