Each pose in yoga has a story from which it was born. The Warrior series is no different. It is from the story of Lord Shiva and the anger from which Virabhadra was born. (You can read the full story of Lord Shiva here.)
Virabhadrasana II is the pose in which Virabhadra draws his sword. This asana is a powerful pose that requires strength, flexibility and balance. To maintain this pose, practitioners must work their body in opposition by grounding down firmly through the feet while lifting up through the top of the head to maintain a long spine and reach the arms in opposite directions. Keeping the mind present and the breath steady will help maintain stability in the pose.
Virabhadrasana – ( Vira (hero)+ Bhadra (friend) + Asana(pose) )
How to do Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose)
- From Mountain Pose. step one foot back about 3 feet behind you.
- Turn your back foot to a 90 degree angle. Ground down through all four corners of the feet creating a strong foundation. Check to make sure the outside edge of your foot is firmly pressing into the earth.
- Slowly bend your front leg, bringing the knee over the ankle (never past the ankle)
- Stretch your arms out in opposite directions parallel to the floor, with wrists inline with your shoulders, turning your head to bring your gaze towards the middle finger of your front hand. Relax the shoulders. Keep the shoulders over hips.
- Lift up through the torso to lengthen the spines as you continue to ground down through the feet.
- Stay here for 5 breaths. Inhale as you release the Switch feet and repeat on the other side.
Benefits of Warrior II
- Strengthens the quads, hamstrings, hip abductors and shoulders
- Stretches the hip flexors, hip adductors, and chest
- Improves circulation and vital energy flow through the body
- High Blood pressure
- Neck Pain
- Knee Injury
There are several ways to modify Virabhadrasana 2 as you begin to build strength.
- You may find decreasing the distance in your stance may alleviate joint discomfort or instability.
- Bending the front knee only slightly to relieve knee discomfort.
- For shoulder discomfort, bring hands to hips. Remember to maintain length in the spine and relax the shoulders.
Warrior II Variations
- Flowing Warrior 2 – On each inhale straining the front leg and bringing the arms overhead, exhaling as you bend the knee and come back to Warrior 2. (You can practice a flowing Warrior 2 in this 25 Minute Flow)
- Added Shoulder and Arm strength – rotate the palms up to face the sky. Feel the strength in the shoulders as you hold for 5 breaths.