WARRIOR 2 - VIRABIDRASANA II

One of the most commonly taught and practiced poses.  For some, this pose is easier than the square hip cousins – Warrior 1 and Warrior 3.  I remember back to my Power Yoga days holding this pose for what felt like 20 mins each side.  I clearly recall my legs screaming, my arms feeling heavy and my hips protesting.  I also remember it’s one of the first poses where I could find stillness and clarity of thought.  When working with breath, I found this to be an extremely comforting pose – my body knew what to do and then I just had to fight against my inner voice yelling me to ‘get out’! 

I often see students treating this pose as a stance or balance rather than the strong warrior lunge that it is.  The legs will shake (this still happens to me on occasions), and that’s ok. 

Try to take the pose as deep as you can safely manage and then hold for about 10 – 20 breaths, perhaps increasing the breath count over time.   Part of the practice of asana is to take the body to an uncomfortable point so that we tap into the breath and learn to build discipline and stamina.  If you’re taking the Warrior 2 stance too short, then you may be missing out on some of the amazing benefits available.

Key Alignment Points:

  • Stack the front knee on top of the ankle and work the thigh parallel to the mat
  • Gently encourage the front knee so that you can see your big and second toe.  While doing this hug the hip under
  • Keep the torso stacked on top of the hips rather than moving forward
  • Seal the outside of the back foot to the floor and energetically try to rip the mat in two

Modifications:

  • Place hands on hips to take some of the heat out of the shoulders

Variations:

  • Try closing your eyes and feel the balance shift.
  • Work with different arm variations – eagle wrap or hands in prayer behind back