Warrior II aka Virabhadrasana II
Warrior II, aka Virabhadrasana II, is a standing yoga pose and is included in almost every practice. While the movement is subtle, it gives a powerful stretch to the legs, groin and chest.
It also serves as a deep hip-opening pose that strengthens the muscles in the thighs and buttocks.
The pose opens the chest and the shoulders too, as well as tones the abdomen, ankles and arches of the feet.
More than just a physical posture, Warrior II helps with your concentration, and to clear your mind and your intentions. Distractions disappear and you become powerful and focused.
1. Stand sideways on the mat, with legs 4 or 5 feet apart, and place the little toe sides of your feet parallel to the short end of the mat. Make sure your heels are perfectly aligned.
2. Turn your right foot out 90 degrees to point toward the front of the mat. You may leave your left foot at the same position or pivot the toes slightly inward to a 45 degree angle.
3. Lift your arms up to shoulder height so they are parallel to the floor, aligned directly over your legs. With the palms facing down, spread the fingers and extend the fingertips toward the opposite sides of the room.
4. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale bend the right knee. Align the right knee directly over your right ankle. Your right shin should be perpendicular to the floor.
With each breath, sink your hips down a little lower to eventually bring the right thigh parallel to the floor, all the while grounding your left foot into the earth and keeping your left leg straight.
5. Draw your ribcage in and keep your torso right above your hip bones. Your body weight should be evenly distributed between two legs. Turn your head to gaze at your right fingertips, press your shoulders down and away from your ears and lift your heart.
6. Stay in this pose for a few deep breaths. Release, turn around and repeat steps 1 – 5 on the other side.
Disclaimer: Do not begin any physical activity described in this column without prior approval from your health care professional.