Warrior II
VĪRABHADRĀSANA II (वीरभद्रासन)
(veer-aah-bha-drah-sah-nah)

 


‘Vīrabhadra’= warrior or name of legendary mythical warrior, ‘āsana’= posture
‘Vīra’= warrior, hero, courageous, vigorous, ‘Bhadra’= good or auspicious


Alternate Names

NA

Difficulty Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Standing / Stretch / Balance / Strength

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping the back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward. Raise your arms and bend down into a forward bend, placing your fingers on the mat, slightly bending the knees.
2. Step your right foot straight back, keeping in line with the right hip, and into a lunge. Make sure that the knee of your front left leg is stacked over your left ankle with your left foot in line with the left knee.
3. Lift your torso and turn the hip sockets so that they are facing forward, as you lower the heel of your back-right foot and turn the toes out at a 90-degree angle. Your right heel should be in line with the front left heel, and your right knee facing sideways with your hips.
4. Sink down into your hips and point the tailbone down. Make sure to keep the front left leg in alignment, and the back-right leg straight, as you spread your toes to root down into the mat. Do not lock your knee.
5. Extend your arms out over your legs in the shape of a ‘T’. Your arms should be in a straight line from fingertip to fingertip and parallel to the mat.
6. Turn your head so that you are looking over your (left) front arm, in line with your front knee, while you keep your shoulders down and open with your shoulder blades flat across your back.
7. Inhale and lift your chest as you draw your navel to your spine. Lengthen up through the ribs and continue to open the chest and gaze forward over your arm. Stretch through your sides and abdomen and extend your spine. Stretch through your arms to your fingertips. Relax your jaw and neck.
8. Hold the posture for several breaths (at least 20 seconds to build strength). When you’re ready, release back into Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and repeat on the other side.

Common Adjustments
• Front knee extended past the ankle or toes
• Knee splayed out to side
• Knee not stacked over ankle
• Front foot not in line with the knee
• Feet lifting off the mat instead of grounded
• Trouble balancing or torso leaning to either side or forward
• Hip sockets not facing the side
• Back leg not straight
• Back knee locked
• Back foot not at a 90-degree angle
• Strained neck or shoulders tense
• Shoulders too close to the ears
• Arms not parallel and in a ‘T’ shape
• Palms not down
• Lower back compressed
• Chest collapsed

Modifications
• Students with neck or shoulder discomfort / injury can rest their hands on their hips or place their hands in Prayer Mudra over their heart center. They should also gaze forward instead of over the forward leg.
• Students with back or knee discomfort / injury can place a folded mat or blanket under the ball or heel of the foot, or they can place a chair under the front thigh for support and balance. Alternatively, they can shorten their stance and focus on lifting their rib cage.
• For students with tight hips / psoas, pain in the lower back, have trouble turning their back foot to 90-degrees, or want to strengthen the quadriceps and ankles, can leave their back foot flexed on the ball of their foot and practice Crescent High Lunge (Ashta Chandrasana) instead. They can also relieve pressure by bringing the feet into a wider stance, straighten the front leg, or they can turn the back foot out at 45-degrees instead of 90-degrees.
• Students who have trouble balancing or gripping the mat can practice with the outside of the back foot up against a wall. Alternatively, they can practice while holding a chair or with their back next to a wall.
• Students with leg or abdomen weakness, are pregnant, or rehabilitating can practice with a chair, stool or Yoga ball in between the legs for the student to rest on.
• To challenge your balance, practice with your eyes closed. If you want to improve your balance, practice facing a wall with your fingertips barely touching the wall.

Counter Poses
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana)
• Half Forward Bend, Standing (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Plank (Phalakasana)
• Split Pose (Hanumanasana)

Anatomy
• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Biceps and Triceps
• Abdomen (Core)• Upper (Cervical), Middle (Thoracic), and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine
• Hips (Psoas Major and Iliopsoas)• Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)
• Quadriceps and Hamstrings• Calf muscles
• Knees• Ankles and Feet

Benefits
• Strengthens and stretches the neck, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, obliques, hips, psoas, groin, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and ankles.
• Opens the chest, hips, groin, and shoulders as well as lengthens the spine.
• Releases tension in the hips and glutes, which can be therapeutic for students with sciatica and osteoporosis, as well as reduces stiffness around the neck and shoulders.
• Improves and stabilizes joint health by flexing the neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles, which is therapeutic for students with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Improves balance and focus, develops will power and confidence, which stimulates the mind. This also balances the nervous system, which helps with insomnia and fatigue.
• Improves the Respiratory System by opening the chest and increasing lung capacity by breathing through the diaphragm, which is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Improves circulation and digestion by massaging internal organs and abdomen muscles. Also stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid. Improves endurance, stamina, and stability.

Contraindications
1. Students with recent or chronic injury to the neck, shoulders, hips, knee, or back, slipped disc, have a cardiac condition, diarrhea, heartburn, or palpitations should avoid this pose or seek guidance.
2. Students with neck, spine, shoulder, knee, or hip discomfort or surgeries, have high or low blood pressure, or are pregnant should practice with caution and utilize modifications and/or props and seek expert guidance.
3. It is important to lift the chest in this pose so that undo pressure is not put on the lower back and/or compress the lower back.
4. Beginners, students with hip injuries, hip surgery, or students with tight hips, hamstrings, or quadriceps may not be able to get their front thigh parallel to the mat, that is ok. They should practice how its comfortable until flexibility increases.

Chakras
Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.



Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II”.
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Virabhadrasana II” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “VIRABHADRASANA II – Warrior II”.

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