Warrior II Posture - Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II
(Warrior II Posture)

(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)
Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva

Warrior II Yoga Posture expands the chest for greater respiration and energy balance of the chakras. This version of Warrior Pose increases stamina. Warrior(s) bring a sense of independence, strengthening the core and thighs.

 


Benefits


Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles

Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders

Stimulates abdominal organs

Increases stamina

Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy

This pose strengthens and tones the legs and arms.

This is an energizing posture bringing a sense of fearlessness to the spirit.

Contraindications/Cautions


Diarrhea

High blood pressure

Neck problems: Focus your gaze as in the same direction as your belly button, or navel. The navel rests gently in toward the spine, bringing the hips in a neutral position. This sharpens the focus of the mind and stillness of the body.

Performing the Asana


Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your right foot in slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.

Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.

Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don't lean the torso over the left thigh: Keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Therapeutic Applications


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Flat Feet

Infertility

Osteoporosis

Sciatica

Modify Your Practice


If you have difficulty supporting yourself in this pose, position a metal folding chair outside your left leg, with the front edge of the chair seat facing you. As you bend the left knee to come into the pose, slide the front edge of the seat under your left thigh (taller students may need to build up the height of the chair seat with a thickly folded blanket). Repeat with the right leg bent.

Lunge deeper while maintaining the integrity of the yoga posture for a more intense stretch.

Variations


You can also lean the torso slightly away from the left leg, tilting the arms parallel to the line of the top shoulders. This stretches the left side of the torso. Repeat on the right side.

Complimentary Yoga Poses


Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Posture
Supta Padangusthasana - Reclining Big Toe Stretch
Trikonasana - Triangle
Vrksasana - Tree Balance Posture

Tips for Beginners


When you bend the left knee to a right angle, bend it very quickly with an expressive exhalation, and aim the inside of the left knee toward the little-toe side of the left foot.

Deepen the Pose


To increase the length and strength of the arms in the pose, turn the palms and inner elbow creases to face the ceiling while you draw the shoulder blades down the back. Then maintaining the rotation of the arms, turn the palms from the wrists to face the floor again.

Partner Practice


A partner can help you strengthen your back leg. Have your partner stand behind your back leg. Loop a strap around your inner groin, and as you bend the front knee into the pose, your partner can pull firmly on the strap while you resist the back-leg inner groin away from that movement. Feel how this helps to open the groins.