Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Warrior II Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


The second pose in the series of postures named for Shiva's fierce warrior, this version of Warrior Pose increases stamina.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Virabhadrasana II

(Pronounced as "VEER-ah-budd-RAH-sanna")

As mentioned before, Virabhadra is the name of a warrior created by Shiva to lead his army in battle. This pose is especially good for building strength and stability in the hips.

How to do the Warrior II Pose

Step One

Stand up straight in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. Take a deep breath and then exhale as you jump your feet far apart while spreading your arms out to the sides. Adjust your feet so that they are as far away from each other as possible. Check your heels to make sure they're in line with each other horizontally on the floor. Your toes should point straight ahead. Keep your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Your palms should face down toward the floor.

Step Two

Keeping your torso centered above your pelvis, rotate your right foot out 90 degrees to the right side. Rotate the toes of your left foot 45 degrees toward the right also. Balance your weight evenly between both feet and keep your left leg straight for the duration of this pose. You will know if you have completely straightened your left knee because when you do, the center of your left kneecap will be in line with the middle of your left ankle. Rotate both thighs outward and away from your pelvis.

Step Three

Now take a breath and then breathe out as you bend your right knee down to a right angle. Bend down far enough so that your leg becomes parallel to the floor and level. Your shin should be perpendicular to the floor with your right knee directly above your right ankle. Press your left heel back firmly into the floor to balance as you bend the right knee.

Step Four

Turn your head to the right and gaze at your right fingers. Keep your arms parallel to the floor and extend them to the sides, imagining that people are pulling your hands on each side of you in a tug of war. Lengthen both sides of your torso.

Step Five

Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Over time, you will be able to stay for up to a minute. Breathe in as you come out of the pose by straightening your right leg and then turning your feet back to face forward again. Now repeat the pose on the other side and hold it for the same amount of time.

Beginner's Tip:

It is more important to get the legs in the right position first. Then you can focus more on refining your arm position later. Practice getting your legs in the right position by grabbing your elbows behind your back to keep your arms out of the way.

Then look down to watch that your shoulders remain aligned above your hip joints as you bend the front knee to come down into the posture.

Remember the torso does not lean as the knee bends. Do not disturb your torso. Focus on pushing both your heels into the floor and away from each other. Make sure to push the heels out from your inner hip joints.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Virabhadrasana II

Pose Level:

Level 1

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Heart conditions such as high blood pressure
  2. Heartburn
  3. Excessive bowel movements
  4. Dysentery
  5. Excessive menstrual bleeding
  6. For neck problems: Look straight in front of you while keeping your head in a neutral position. Don't turn your head.
  7. For pregnancy: This posture is safe for most women during the first trimester. However, you need to seek the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor if you are prone to miscarriages. Personalized advice is also important after the first trimester.

Modifications and Props:

In order to help you achieve better alignment and maintain your balance while learning this posture, stand with your back against a wall. Go ahead and jump your feet apart and come into the pose as normal by making sure that the outside edge of your front foot and your back heel press against the wall behind you. Leaning backward to press your back against the wall also helps straighten your spine.

Deepen the Pose:

Your torso should neither lean forward nor back in this posture. Rather, the torso needs to stay centered above your pelvis. You can adjust yourself by making sure that the armpit of your front arm is exactly above your front hip. Push firmly through your back heel and then rotate your back inner thigh out and away from your pelvis to create space in that back hip joint. When you've rotated both hip joints outward from your pelvis and away from each other, then your torso will naturally come into alignment above your pelvis.

Benefits:

  • Helps to realign prolapsed or slipped discs in your back
  • Assists in relieving pain from lower-back injuries
  • Tones the hips and thighs
  • Strengthens the knees and ankles
  • Increases flexibility in the hips
  • Helps to stretch out tension in the shoulders

Variations

To get an even deeper expansion of the chest, interlock your fingers together behind your back while straightening both of your arms. Then simultaneously rotate your shoulders back and away from each other, forcing your shoulder blades to tuck deeply into your back.

Try to slightly push your fingers down toward the floor while keeping your arms straight and pulling your shoulders back.

Partnering

Ask a partner to help you build strength in your back leg and keep it straight as you work on holding this posture. Before you come into the pose, take a yoga belt and make a loop at the end. Place the loop around your left leg right above your back knee.

Have your partner stand behind you. Then as you bend your front knee and come into the pose, straighten your back leg. Have your partner gently start pulling on the belt while they stand behind you so that your back knee cannot bend. Your back leg will remain straight and help support your weight properly.

Next Pose:

Warrior III Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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