Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) is a foundational pose of yoga. It is built from our knowledge of mountain pose (week 1 lesson) and warrior I pose (week 3).Warrior II is the essence of yoga, it is the union of opposition. It allows us to reach into the past and the future, whilst holding us FIRMLY in our present. This pose is universal in its strength and its softness just as we felt in Warrior I. Our base is grounded the foundation, our legs are like the mountain, our arms light as feathers with grace and strength.
This pose opens the hips, it is intense on the inner groin whilst strengthening the hips, back and core. The quadriceps are required to work to maintain the shape of the pose as we engage the hamstrings of the back leg.
The intensity of the pose frees the mind to fly as our arms extend infinitely from our body.
Body Parts Effected: Entire Leg, strengthens ankle, groin, hip flexors, shoulders and arms, core
Preparatory poses: Mountain Pose, Warrior I
Pose type: Standing Pose
Also known as: Virabhadrasana II (Virabhadra = warrior, Asana = Pose)
1. Standing in Mountain pose step the right leg behind, this is a long stride, aligning the feet in a heel to arch alignment with the toes of the right foot point away from the body at a 45 degree angle. The feet should be generously separated.
2. Gently sink into the left leg bringing the thigh parallel to the ground, working towards a 90 degree bend. The Left knee should be centered over the left ankle tracking the knee towards the left edge of the foot to maintain alignment and provide stability in the pose.
3. Focusing on the back right leg, lift the arch of the right foot and engage the outer right leg. Lift the right knee cap. Gaze should be forward.
4. This is an open hip position, the groin is stretching, the torso and hips are squaring to the side of the room, the shoulders are aligned over the hips.
5. Extend the arms front and back, they should be centered over the hips, with the arms long and straight, but not stiff there is a lightness in the pose.
6. Rotating the palms up will drop the shoulders then slowly turning palms down.
7. Pull navel to your spine, drop the tailbone towards the mat.
8. Breathe deeply and allow the shoulders to fall away from the ears as the shoulder blades draw down your back.
9. Rotate onto back right ball of foot and step feet together at top of mat back in Mountain Pose.
Use of a Props and Modifications
1. Setting the back foot at the base of a wall can help with grounding of back foot.
2. For Balance using a wall to reach towards can be helpful.
3. Shortening the stance may be helpful for some to build strength in the legs.
4. Dropping the back knee to the mat is an option for this pose.
5. Place hands on hips to release shoulder strain.
a. Always consult your medical professional prior to beginning any exercise program
b. Anyone with hip or knee injuries or recent surgery should avoid pose.
c. High Blood Pressure or heart conditions. This pose can be modified to a version with the knee down and not placing hands above heart level.
d. Anyone with neck injuries should avoid turning head over front leg and maintain level head towards the direction of the hips.
e. Shoulder injuries, keep hands at hips or bring to Namaste at heart.