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
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