Warrior II

Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II

The second of the three Warrior poses is a dynamic, wide leg pose which strengthens and stretches the legs and arms and opens up the hips, chest, and shoulders. A very powerful pose which will challenge your balance, strength, mental focus and endurance.

In a hatha class, you will step into Warrior II from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). In a vinyasa class you might transition from Warrior I or another wide leg pose and then onward to Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana).

The instructions below assume a starting position of Mountain Pose.

How to get into the pose:

  • From Mountain Pose, inhale to Extended Mountain and then exhale to step your feet wide and bring your arms to shoulder height

  • The width of your step depends on your height, balance and flexibility. Ideally it’s a wide step, ankles approximately under your wrists but bring your feet closer together if you feel unstable or until you feel confident to take a wider step

  • Turn your right foot to 12 o’clock (90 degrees) and draw your left foot inward so that your toes point half way towards your right foot

  • Exhale to bend into your right knee. Your knee must point straight ahead and not roll in towards the middle of the mat.

  • Keep your back leg strong, don’t let the knee drop

  • Relax your shoulders away from your ears and lengthen the tail downwards whilst lengthening the crown of the head upwards

  • Keep your chin level with the mat

  • Keep your shoulders over your hips and turn your gaze to the right hand. Don’t reach forward or turn your torso away from the centre - see picture two above

  • Stretch forward and backwards with equal effort

  • To release the pose, inhale to straighten the front leg and bring your feet back to parallel.

  • Repeat the pose on the left side then return to Extended Mountain pose on an inhale and then to Mountain pose on an exhale .

Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.

How long to stay in the pose:

  • Five to ten breaths

Gaze (Drishti)

  • The middle finger of your front hand

Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:

  • Decrease the bend in the front knee

  • Shorten the width of your feet

  • Bring your hands to a prayer (Anjali mudra) at heart centre instead of extending the arms

Contraindications / Cautions:

  • Be cautious with this pose if you have a knee injury or are recovering from knee surgery

  • Be cautious with this pose if you have an ankle injury or are recovering from ankle surgery

  • Be cautious with this pose if you have a groin strain or injury

  • High blood pressure