Learning Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Also known as Fierce Warrior, this pose increases stamina
If I am being honest, Warrior II is not one of my favorite poses. I have trouble holding my hips straight while tracking my knee over my pinky toe. All the more reason that I need to work on this pose!! I am sure to incorporate Warrior II in every one of my classes so that my students build the stamina and strength that they need to build upon this standing pose in the future.
Let’s begin! Start in Downward Dog. Lift your right leg to the sky. Bend the right knee and hug the knee into your chest, then drop your right foot down between your hands. Pivot on the back foot 90 degrees and ground down through the pink toe edge of the back foot. While slightly bending in the front leg, inhale and cartwheel the arms open into a T (one arm in front of you, one arm behind you). Your hips will be turned towards the long edge of your mat as you shift your gaze over the front middle finger. To engage your shoulders, flip the palms up and draw the shoulder blades together. Keep that engagement and flip the palms back down towards your mat. Don’t lean the torso over the front thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the hips. Tuck the tailbone slightly and bring the belly button to the spine. Glance down at your front knee and make sure you’re not sickling inward. You want to see your big toe and make sure your knee is pointing towards the pinky toe edge of the front foot. Inhale the gaze back up to center and breathe in this pose for at least 10 breaths. To switch sides, cartwheel the hands over the front foot, planting the hands and stepping back to downward dog. Lift the left leg to the sky and begin setting up for Virabhadrasana II on the left side.
Contraindications and Cautions
- 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.
Modifications and Props
If you have difficulty supporting yourself in this pose, position a metal folding chair outside your left leg, with the front edge of the chair seat facing you. As you bend the left knee to come into the pose, slide the front edge of the seat under your left thigh (taller students may need to build up the height of the chair seat with a thickly folded blanket). Repeat with the right leg bent.
- Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
- Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
- Stimulates abdominal organs
- Increases stamina
- Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
- Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica
I’d love to see and hear about your journey in Warrior II!