Warrior II | Virabradhrasana II
- Begin by standing in Mountain Pose, toes facing the long edge of your mat.
- Extend arms out to the side and take a wide legged stance so your ankles are under your wrists.
- Turn your right foot so your toes are lined up with the top of your mat.
- Lift your left heel off your mat and turn toward the bottom of your mat to form a 30 degree angle.
- Move into a lunge with your right leg, stacking the knee over the ankle, the knee will track the middle toes. Lock the leg in place with a strong quad and press strongly into the foot.
- Pressing strongly into your left foot (both legs are working equally hard here), root down through the feet to rise the torso out of the hip points and turn the belly button towards the left (the right hip is open).
- Inhale and rise the arms up in line with shoulders, extending actively through the finger tips, while drawing the shoulders away from ears.
- Gaze out over the front fingertips and find some long, even breaths here before repeating with the left leg leading.
The beauty of yoga is everyone’s experience is unique. Below are some of the things I play with as a teacher and a student when I’m practicing Warrior II, take or leave whatever feels relevant for you.
In Warrior II, I like to connect with a sense of rooting down through my feet on my exhale and lengthening through the top of my head and extending through my finger tips on my inhale. This pose requires a balanced sense of strength throughout the whole body. Allowing your awareness to connect with how the pose engages with each element of the body can help you to become aware of areas of tightness that you may be able to soften or areas that may feel a little weak that you could work on strengthening. Sometimes there’s a sense of ease in the pose and sometimes it feels like your battling something. If you feel like you’re in a battle, engage with that feeling and welcome it rather than fighting it. Affirmations can be good if you need a bit of an internal pep talk to stay in for a few breaths longer.
- I welcome internal conflict as it helps me to grow
- I am strong in both my body and mind
- My will is strong
- I am ready to move through obstacles
- Can help to build stamina, focus and willpower;
- Strengthens the legs, arms, back and core muscles;
- Strengthens the lower limbs and joints;
- Stretches the inner thighs, hamstrings, calf muscles, hips and arms;
- Can be used to balance all of the Chakras depending on the focus of your practice, but is particularly good for grounding work in Muladhara and confidence and heat building in Manipura.
- For beginners, a shorter stance between the legs may be more comfortable.
- If suffering from any injuries or inflammation to the pelvis or lower limbs, this pose may need to be avoided completely. However, it may be practiced with the assistance of a chair under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher and the advice of your primary care professional.
- If suffering from shoulder or neck issues, the hands can remain on the hips, or one arm can extend at a time.
Using Warrior II in a Class:
Warrior II is a challenging yet accessible pose that can be used in a variety of classes. In an anatomically focused class, Warrior II will be used when hip openers are a common theme.
Limbering: Easy Pose, Cobbler, Rock the Baby, Shoulder Rolls, Reclined Leg Stretches with a strap (Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose), Downward Facing Dog.
Complimentary: Extended Side Angle Pose, Triangle, Tree Pose and Reverse Warrior.
Cooling : Star Pose and a Wide Legged Child’s Pose.
A full printable lesson plan
for a Mixed Level, Hip Opening themed class
can be downloaded here!
I would love to hear how you use Warrior II in a class or your own experience of the pose in the comments!
Namasté, Alex xx