Warrior Pose II or Virabhadrasana II in Sanskrit, is a standing yoga pose that strengthens and stretches the legs, hips, and torso. As per Hindu Mythology, Virabhadra was the name of a Warrior created by Lord Shiva. Hence this pose comes from the creation of the fiercest warrior by Lord Shiva and so the name goes Virabhadrasana or Warrior Pose.
Virabhadrasana is considered a difficult pose as the body alignment needs to be accurate but is generally categorized as an intermediate or beginner-level pose. It is said that the power of this pose can be felt only if one is extremely flexible and stable with their body balance. Virabhadrasana II is one of the many variations of Virabhadrasana Pose.
Warrior II Yoga Pose is often incorporated into yoga sequences for its energizing and grounding effects, and can also be practiced on its own as a way to cultivate focus and mindfulness.
Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet together and arms alongside your body. Distribute the weight evenly in your feet. If you have a hard time staying balanced here stand with the feet hip distance apart and parallel to one another.
On an exhale, step your left leg about 4 to 5 feet in back of you and turn that back foot at about a 70-80 degree angle. You want your front heel to be aligned with the arch of your back foot. The hips face the length of your mat.
Bend the right (front) knee to 90 degrees so that the knee is directly over the ankle and the shin is perpendicular to the earth. The knee should be tracking over the second and third toe. Distribute the weight evenly through that front foot as you lift the inner arch and root down through the corners of the feet. The front toes are pointed forwards and are parallel with the front edge of your mat.
Engage the quad of the back leg. The leg should be straight without locking out the knee. Root down the outer edge of the back foot into the earth as you press into the big toe.
Bring a gentle engagement to your belly by drawing the navel in and up towards the spine. Lengthen your tailbone down towards the earth.
On an inhale, lift the arms to shoulder height, palms face down towards the ground. Relax the shoulders away from the ears and reach through your fingertips.
Soften your gaze over your front middle finger. Root down to earth as you lengthen up towards the sky. Notice if there is anywhere in the body or mind where you are gripping and see if you can use your breath to soften.
To get out of the posture, straighten the front leg, lower the arms and step your back leg back to mountain pose. Repeat on the left side.
Benefits and Contraindications
Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica
Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
Stimulates abdominal organs
Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
High blood pressure
Neck problems: Don't turn your head to look over the front hand; continue to look straight ahead with both sides of the neck lengthened evenly.
Photo poses in different angles
Modifications And Props
There are several props that can be used to modify Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior II, yoga pose and make it more accessible, comfortable, or challenging depending on the practitioner’s needs and abilities. Here are some examples:
Chair: Practicing Warrior II with a chair can provide additional support and stability, making it easier to maintain proper alignment and balance in the pose. The chair can be used to support the hands, torso, or hips, depending on the practitioner’s needs. This modification is helpful for those with limited mobility or balance.
Wall: Practicing Warrior II with the back heel against a wall can help to improve alignment and balance, while also providing a gentle stretch for the calves and hamstrings. The wall can also be used to support the hands or arms, making the pose more challenging. This modification is helpful for those with limited balance or flexibility.
Yoga Wheel: Place the yoga wheel on the ground, with the flat side facing up. Step the front foot onto the wheel, positioning it so that the ball of the foot is on the center of the wheel and the heel is off the edge. Step the back foot back, coming into a lunge position, with the back foot parallel to the back edge of the wheel. Align the front knee directly over the ankle, with the thigh parallel to the ground. Use the wheel for support and stability as needed. Lift the arms to shoulder height, parallel to the ground, and gaze over the front fingertips.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What muscles does Warrior II work?
Warrior II works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core muscles. It also stretches the hips, groins, chest, and shoulders.
Can Warrior II be practiced during pregnancy?
Yes, Warrior II can be practiced during pregnancy with proper modifications and guidance from a qualified yoga teacher or healthcare provider. Pregnant women should avoid deep lunges and twists, and should listen to their bodies and modify the pose as needed.
What are the common mistakes to avoid in Warrior II?
Common mistakes in Warrior II include letting the front knee collapse inward, leaning too far forward or backward, raising the shoulders towards the ears, and tensing the neck and jaw. Practitioners should focus on maintaining proper alignment and engaging the core and leg muscles to avoid these mistakes.
How long should I hold Warrior II?
The duration of holding Warrior II can vary depending on the practitioner’s experience and goals. Generally, holding the pose for 5-10 deep breaths on each side is recommended to allow for sufficient stretching and strengthening of the muscles.
A digital marketer in love with yoga and everything that goes along with it.
In 2021, her huge passion for yoga led her to yoga teacher trainings.
After successfully completing her studies, Iana received her Yoga Alliance U.S. certification, left the corporate IT world and devoted herself to the development of Yanva.
To be able to create the best online yoga space for yoga enthusiasts like her, Iana is constantly learning and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and biomechanics.
Since 2021, she has continued to attend various types of teacher training, including yoga therapy, gives online and offline classes, and conducts local workshops for people who want to learn more about yoga.
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