Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) (via flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yogamama-co-uk/3248149481/)
Pronunciation: veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna
Pose Type: Standing Pose

The fiery power of Warrior I, or Virabhadrasana, is exemplified by this variation of the pose, Warrior II. This pose embodies the spirit of a warrior and conveys readiness, stability, and courage. Warrior II is included in a number of yoga sequences and often follows Warrior I to create continuity in the practice.

Each of the warrior poses contains elements of simultaneous movement both forward and backward which imparts a sense of anticipation for launching energetically forward into the next movement. The focus of Warrior II is on the front leg while opening the front of the pelvis and chest over a strong foundation expressed by the legs. .

Pose Sequence

You can come into this pose from several positions, but we’re going to start from standing Mountain pose:

  1. Standing in Tadasana at the top of your mat, step one foot backward while raising your arms parallel to the floor with palms facing down.
  2. The front leg bends into an 90-degree angle and the pelvis lowers toward the floor. Keep the front knee directly over the ankle.
  3. Turn the back foot out 45-90 degrees but keep your heels in line.
  4. Firm up the feet and ankles and actively rotate the upper thighs outward.
  5. Tuck the tailbone slightly forward into a neutral position and distribute your weight evenly on both feet.
  6. Center your hips and keep both sides of your torso equally long. Turn your head toward the front and look out over your fingers.
  7. Actively reach the arms away from each other, opening the shoulders and upper back.
  8. Reach the crown of the head tall and away from the pelvis which is actively sinking toward the ground supported by the strength in the legs.

You may release from the pose in several ways, depending on the sequence. You might cartwheel both hands down to either side of the front foot and hop back into Plank pose, for example, or you might step the back foot forward and return to Mountain pose.

Benefits of Warrior II Pose

The benefits of including Warrior II in your yoga practice include:

  • Stretching the hips, groin, and shoulders
  • Opening the chest and lungs
  • Building stamina and concentration
  • Energizing tired limbs
  • Stimulating your abdominal organs

When practicing Warrior II, try to imagine the mighty conqueror from which this pose derives its name and allow your posture to embody the grace and courage inherent in this yoga pose.

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