Yoga Poses

Warrior II Virabhadrasana II

Steps

From Mountain Pose, step the left foot back about 4 to 6 feet. (Note: The length you step back depends on your height.) Turn the left foot to a 30 to 50 degree angle. Align the heel of the front foot with the arch of the back foot. Bend the front knee to a 90 degree angle so that the front thigh is parallel to the ground.

Planting the feet firmly in the ground, begin to open the torso, shoulders, and both hip bones toward the left side .

Next, with palms facing down, lift the arms to shoulder height. Arms should be parallel to the front leg. Let the coccyx travel down as the pubic bone lifts. Lift up through the rib cage.

Softly and slowly, take your gaze to the middle finger of the right hand.

To come out of Warrior II, exhale the arms down, turn the hip bones back to the front of the mat and step the back leg up to meet the front leg. End in Mountain Pose.

Repeat these steps on the other leg.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

Picture a moderately heavy object sitting on top of your arms, weighing them down. Then, working against this imaginary force, try to press the arms back up. At the same time, image that someone is pulling your front hand forward and your back hand back. In this way, opposition and length are created so that strength and flexibility can be gained.

If you are entering Warrior II from Warrior I, you may need to adjust the back leg back slightly after you’ve opened the hips to the side.

Technical Comments

Always keep the arms strong, active, and in a straight line with the shoulders. Keep the shoulders back and down so they do not crowd the ears. Hip bones stay squared to the side. Press into the outside edges of both feet to protect the arches.

Benefit Comments

  • Promotes calmness of spirit.
  • Improves alignment of the legs, hips, and shoulders.
  • Strengthens legs, ankles, and groin area.

Watch Out For:

  • Keep the front knee bent at a 90 degree angle over the front foot at all times.
  • Do not let the arches of the feet collapse. Pay special attention to the arch of the back foot.
  • No “lazy” arms, please.

Contraindications

Use modified versions of Warrior II if you have:
  • Knee injuries.
  • Pain in the hips.

Modifications

If knee injuries, balance issues, or hip pain are present, place the seat of a folding chair underneath the front thigh. You may wish to put a folded blanket on the chair seat for extra comfort and support. If balance is an issue, you may want to shorten the length between the feet until the pose is more comfortable. If aligning the front heel to the back arch causes any pain in the knees, align the heels instead.

Variations

  • “Active” Warrior II: Straighten the front knee as you inhale the arms up next to the ears. (Palms face each other). Exhale as you move the arms and knee back to the original Warrior II position. (Palms face the floor.) Repeat 5 times on each side..
  • Add a chest opener by clasping the hands together near the lumbar spine. Roll the shoulders back.
  • Place hands in Prayer Position or use Eagle Pose arms.
  • Place the back hand on the back hip.

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Triangle
  • Extended Side Angle Pose
  • Reverse Side Angle Pose
  • Warrior I

Written By: Amber Kocian RYT

Amber encourages students to test their limits, but gently reminds them to listen to and respect their bodies as they are each day. She believes that a safe, consistent yoga practice has the power to help anyone in every aspect of their lives.

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