#22 Virbhadrasana II – Warrior II

Termed Virabhadrasana in Sanskrit, commonly known as the Warrior II Pose in English, this pose focuses on building leg strength and stamina. The second of three Warrior Poses, this pose provides a way to stretch the hips, groin, and legs as well as chest and shoulders.

The Warrior II Pose is rooted in Hindu mythology. Virabhadra was a fierce warrior, the term asana means pose. The myth states a powerful priest hosted a great sacrifice but did not invite his youngest daughter, Sati, and her husband, Shiva, the supreme ruler of the universe. Sati found out, visited the sacrifice and began arguing with her father. Distraught from the argument, Sati walked into the fire and killed herself. When her husband heard of her death, he became enraged and created Virabhadra, a ferocious warrior who avenged the death of Sati. The three Warrior Poses spring from this myth:

  • Virabhadrasana I – warrior arrives with swords in hands, breaking through the earth from below.
  • Virabhadrasana II – warrior sees enemy and focuses attention, preparing for battle.
  • Virabhadrasana III – warrior moves swiftly and attacks the enemy.

No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke. ~  The Bhagavad Gita

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“Warrior 2 hones your power of concentration. Through your focused gaze, this pose teaches you how to streamline your power into a single ray of energy.” – Baron Baptiste

Steps:

  1. From Tadasana
  2. Take a big step back with your left leg.
  3. Right foot turned out to the top of your mat, left foot turned slightly in (same direction as the right foot) about 45/60 degrees.
  4. Stand with straight legs, press 4 corners of feet into the floor, firm your legs up.
  5. Inhale as you raise your arms parallel to the floor, keeping the shoulders down and neck long.
  6. Exhale as you bend the right knee, keeping your knee over ankle, not past! Bring your right thigh towards parallel to the floor. Sometimes it is necessary to adjust the legs, and bring them further apart. Heel to heel alignment.
  7. Check the alignment of your right knee, right over the ankle and it should be in line with the first 2 toes, roll top of thigh down towards floor on the right. Press down through the big toe to balance that action. Press top of left thigh back, and ground the outside of the left foot into the floor.
  8. Sides of hips firm in and elongate through the four sides of your spine evenly. Draw your abdomen gently in and up. Diaphragm soft.
  9. Extend through collarbones, through fingertips, and elongate evenly through the four sides of the neck.
  10. Look out over the right arm.
  11. your body should be in a right angle with the floor. Shoulders over hips.
  12. To come out, press into your feet and on an inhalation straighten the leg.
  13. Change the orientation of the feet to the other side, and repeat on the left side.

Modifications & Variations

Practicing this pose for the first time may be too challenging for some. If you experience difficulty holding the pose, consider using a chair for support. To modify the Warrior II Pose, straddle the chair and face the chair back. Drop into the pose by bending your left knee and straightening your right leg. Bring your buttocks close to the seat of the chair without actually touching the chair. Hold this pose for as long as you can and if you need a rest, slowly lower yourself onto the chair until you are ready to continue again.

If you want to experience a more advanced Warrior II Pose, drop into the pose. Slowly move your torso away from your left leg, bending at the hips while keeping your arms extended to your sides. This movement stretches the left side of your torso. After holding this modification for 15 seconds, repeat with the other side.

Benefits:

This asana will help:

  • Increases the strength and flexibility of the legs, ankles and feet.
  • Therapeutic for flat feet, sciatica, backaches and osteoporosis.
  • Stretches the groin, hip muscles and connective tissue of the hips.
  • Opens the chest, lungs and shoulders.
  • Builds stamina.

Along with the benefits shared by standing poses in general (heating, energizing, centering, grounding, building stamina), Virabhadrasana II opens the pelvis, groins, chest and shoulders. It tones abductors, stretches adductors & hamstrings, lengthens psoas and gastroc of back leg, strengthens deep hip rotators & glute muscles of back leg and opens pec major and biceps.

Cautions:

Use caution when performing the Warrior II Pose if you are currently experiencing diarrhea, high blood pressure, vertigo, hip or neck pain. If you are experiencing neck pain, do not turn your head and look over your front arm as you are in the pose. Instead, keep facing forward and in the same direction as your chest is facing to reduce strain. Also, if you have hip pain, follow the modified version and brace yourself against a chair or wall.

Hope you enjoyed!

See you tomorrow!!

Namaste

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