Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II is my yoga pose for the month of November. This pose may seem easy but many practitioners are not doing this pose correctly. They tend to lean forward or have their knees buckling to the centre causing the hips to be not properly aligned.
Warrior II is a very good pose for strengthening and stretching the legs, ankles, shoulders and arms. It enhances balance on both sides of the body, expands the chest, encourages deeper breathing and improves coordination and concentration.
Doing the Pose
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
Points to note
In the pose, the hips remain open and you keep the hip of the back leg from creeping forward by rotating the upper thigh outwards.
The knee is pointing the same direction as the toes, and is directly over the ankle. If the knee of the bent leg is extending beyond the ankle, walk your foot forward to take unnecessary pressure off of the ankle.
Ensure that your shoulders are in line with your hips and slightly drop the shoulders away from the ears.
See video below on How to do the Warrior 2 pose.