Warrior II // Virabhadrasana II

UNLEASH YOUR INNER STRENGTH WITH WARRIOR II

Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh), is a fabbo pose for strengthening the legs and butt, while opening the pelvis, chest and shoulders. When you take this pose on, think about its ability to ramp up your strength, stability and concentration to get the maximum effect.

History

This pose was named after Virabhadra, a mythical, bad-ass warrior incarnation of Shiva. When we say bad-ass, think: tall, dark, with flaming eyes and hair, a thousand arms and a skull necklace. Basically a Hindu Russell Brand.

Benefits

Warrior II can relieve back aches, improve digestion, breathing capacity and concentration. The aim here is not only to derive physical benefits, but to hone your gaze, focus your mind and let distractions disappear as you powerfully focus your energy. Essentially, it's a path on the mat to Beyonce's alter ego, 'Sasha Fierce'.

Practicing Warrior II

  1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Place feet hip-distance apart, arms at your sides. Dump distractions. Notice your breath. Draw awareness inward and turn to the left, like you were born to do it.
  2. Exhale, step your feet about 4 to 5 feet apart, heels aligned.
  3. Turn your right tootsie 90 degrees, toes pointing to the top of the mat.
  4. Pivot your left tootsie slightly inwards. Your back toes should be at a 45 degree angle.
  5. Lift up the arches of your feet and push down through your ankles and corners of your feet. 
  6. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor and aligned directly over your legs. Palms face down, reach from fingertip to fingertip.
  7. Exhale, bend your front knee so it's directly over the ankle of your front foot. Sink your hips so your front thigh's parallel to the floor.
  8. Keep your front shin vertical and widen your stance if needed, so your knee doesn't move forward past your ankle.
  9. Keep your head directly over your tailbone and be sure not to lean towards your front leg.
  10. Turn your head and look out over the tip of your right middle finger, like Khaleesi from Game of Thrones, surveying her kingdom.
  11. Broaden across your collarbones, drop your shoulders and lift your chest.
  12. Pull your belly in toward your spine and keep your torso open, not turned toward the front leg. 
  13. Hold for up to one minute and settle into the stillness of your own power. Oh yeah.
  14. Release by inhaling, pressing down through your back foot and straightening your front leg.
  15. Lower your arms like a graceful butterfly. Turn to the left, reverse the position of your feet, then repeat for another minute on the opposite side.

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