Uta’s Insights: Yoga Pose of the Week — 4. Warrior Two
Warrior Two — Virabhadrasana II
Virabhadrasana II is one of my fellow runners’ favorite poses. It is a wonderful asana to restore a feeling of strength because it connects us with the integral power of the legs, which, linked with intention, propels us to action.
The “warrior” character of this pose encourages athletes and others to focus and concentrate. It also helps to strengthen the hamstrings and quadriceps as well as stretching the adductor muscle and improving the function of the hips.
This is an ideal pose to practice right after an easy workout to relieve muscle tightness and tension. It is also the first exercise of a short asana sequence that I enjoy practicing within a longer yoga program: After the Warrior Two pose I move into the Triangle pose, staying in it for 20 seconds before slowly moving from there into Side Angle pose.
How to practice the Warrior Two pose:
- Start in Mountain pose. Take a big step back with the left leg. The right foot stays straight ahead, the left foot turns slightly out about 15 degrees. The heel of the right foot should line up with the arch of the left foot.
- Inhale as you bring your arms up to shoulder level, palms facing down, with the right arm in front of you over the right leg and the left arm behind you. Your ankles should line up under the wrists, and you should feel comfortable and balanced in this position.
While you extend out through the fingers of both hands, soften the shoulders down. Turn your head to gaze forward at the middle finger of the right hand. Feel the sensation of power and focus on complete alignment of your arms and legs.
- Exhale as you bend the right knee — the goal is for the thigh to be parallel to the floor. Make sure the knee is directly over the ankle. At the same time, press strongly into the outer edge of the left foot to keep the back leg long and straight.
- Continue to breathe steadily as you hold your gaze. Silently (or not) say an inner “Ha!” to an imaginary foe or problem. Step back to Mountain pose and switch sides, or simply switch the direction of the feet. For a fun exercise sequence, move from Warrior Two into Triangle pose.
Updated July 13, 2016