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Warrior II Pose (virabhadrasana II)

Standing posture that stretches your legs, ankles, shoulders and arms.
 

Warrior II Pose (or virabhadrasana II) strengthens and stretches your legs, ankles, shoulders and arms. This pose also expands your chest, which can help you breathe more deeply.
 
Regular practice of this pose can increase your strength and stamina.
 
To avoid arching your lower back in the pose, tuck your tailbone under. You should also make sure that the hip of your back leg does not rotate forward. Your arms, shoulders, hips and legs should all be on the same plane. You should also keep your bent knee directly over your ankle to avoid overextending your knee.
 
As you hold Warrior II Pose, your lower body should feel grounded through both feet. Try to visualize your legs as pillars of strength that support your expanding chest and stretching arms.
 
If you have neck problems, do not turn your head to gaze out over your hand. Instead, keep your neck straight and look forward. You should also use caution performing this pose if you have hip or knee problems.
 
Steps:
Begin in Mountain Pose.
Step your right foot to the right 2 to 4 feet.
Turn your right foot out 90 degrees and then turn your left foot in 45 degrees.
(Make sure your right heel is aligned with the middle of your left foot.)
(Your shoulders and hips should be facing forward on the same plane as your legs.)
Tuck your tailbone under to avoid arching your lower back.
Inhale as you raise your arms up to shoulder height, with your palms facing down.
Relax your shoulders down and back away from your ears.
Exhale as you bend your right knee until it is over your right ankle. Your right knee should be facing the same direction as your toes.
(Make sure your left leg is straight and the soles of both feet are in even contact with the floor.)
Turn your head to the right and gaze out over the fingertips of your right hand.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
To come out of the pose, exhale as you lower your arms to your sides and straighten your right leg. Then return to Mountain Pose.
Repeat steps 2 to 10 for your other side.
 
How can I intensify the stretch in my arms in Warrior II Pose?
You can rotate your arms and hands until your palms and the inside of your elbows face the ceiling. While maintaining the rotation of your arms, use your wrists to turn your palms toward the floor again.
 
How can I modify the pose if my arms become tired?
If your arms become tired, you can place your hands on your hips instead of raising your arms up to shoulder height.
 
I find it difficult to balance in Warrior II Pose. What can I do?
You can use a wall to help you balance in this pose. Begin the pose standing with your back facing a wall with both heels against the wall. Step your right foot forward 2 to 4 feet and turn your left foot out so the left side of your foot is against the wall to provide stability for the pose. Then perform the pose as described above, except place your hands on your hips instead of raising your arms to shoulder height.
 
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