Origins of Warrior II
The origins of warrior II yoga pose are in the side stance of warrior I. The feet are still in line with the hips, but they are now a little wider than the hip. The arms are still in line with the body, but they are now at a right angle.
Part of the origins of the warrior II pose are thought to be found in the Plow Pose. The warrior II pose takes the warrior I pose to the next level by lifting the hips higher off the floor, and creating a deeper backbend. The core is then engaged to prevent the lower back from bowing.
The primary benefit of the warrior II pose is that it strengthens your core. The core is the center of gravity in your body, and when it is strong your entire body is stronger. Your body is also able to protect itself and has the added benefit of keeping your back straight and prevents the lower back from bowing. Another benefit of the warrior II pose is that it strengthens the arms and the legs.
Step by step instructions
Now that you have an idea of the origins of the warrior II pose, let’s look at how the it is performed
- Start from downward dog position, and make sure your right foot is beneath your right hand.
- Your right knee should be squarely above your ankle, and your thigh must be parallel to the ground.
- To get your left heel to the mat, rotate on the ball of your left foot. The sole of your left foot should be firmly placed at a 90-degree angle. Your front heel and back arch are about level to each other.
- Ground down into your feet when inhaling, to lift the torso and arms up, keeping your foot location the same.
- As you twist your body to the left, extend your arms out just like the letter T, prompting your hips to become parallel to the left side of your mat.
- Set your palms to face down, and extended your arms in opposing directions. Make sure both arms are parallel to the ground. Dropping your shoulders from your ears is a good place to start. Then with both hands, as if pushing out through your fingertips, extend your hands further out.
- Then face the front of your mat with your head. Proceed to place your right hand in front of you, and keep your eye level just above it.
- Turn both of your thighs outwards.
- To support your arms, tighten your triceps, to do the same for your legs you need to activate the muscles in front of your thigh or your quadriceps, and your ab muscle to support your body.
- Bring your hands down to either side of your right foot and move back into downward dog for 5 to 10 breaths. Before repeating the posture with the left foot forward, take a few deep breaths or do a vinyasa.
Modifying the hips
The hips in this pose are already pretty wide, so it can be easy to get them too wide to the point where they are in the way of your legs. This is often a sign that the hips are rotated too far forward, which makes your hips too wide, rather than too narrow.
The hips are meant to be wide in this pose, so that the bones of your pelvis can take the pressure off your lower back.
Front knee rotation
You will need to be careful of the rotation in the front leg’s knee. Warrior II requires an outward rotation, for the hips to open up more. You risk shifting too much of your weight forward and can therefore potentially lead a knee cap injury.
To keep your joints secure, it’s critical to stack the knee directly on top of the ankle, doing otherwise risks straining a weak joint. Holding a 90 degree angle in the knee joint is ideal, however the leg strength needed takes time to gain.
If you’ve ever tried to perform the warrior II pose, you will know that it can be challenging. When you’re first trying to learn the pose, or if you’re just returning to yoga after a long break, it’s important to begin with the basics.
- The first thing you should do when you begin the warrior II pose is to make sure that you’re keeping the correct form. The shoulders should be down, shoulders pressed down away from the ears, and the chin in line with the chest.
- Also, it is a good idea to start with the warrior I pose. The easiest way to do the warrior II pose is to perform the warrior I pose, but with the feet in a wider position than the hips. The feet can be on the floor, or they can be lifted up off the floor. It’s a great idea to practice the pose using a wall for support if you’re starting out.
- Always keep an eye on your right knee. It has a tendency to gravitate toward the center. Make sure to keep a perpendicular oriented shin to the floor, with you keeping a tab on your knee tracking so that it is over the right foot’s middle toe.
- Make sure you know the difference between warrior II and warrior I when it comes to hip alignment. Your hips push forward in warrior I and in Warrior II they lean to the side. Place your hands on your hips and feel for the bony protrusion of your pelvis. Make sure your hips are level and face the mat’s side.
- Make sure your back arm isn’t dragging by looking back at it. Your hands should be facing upward as you rotate your arms. Flex your triceps, then keep them engaged while you return your palms to their original positions. Make sure your shoulders aren’t stiff at all during this process.
Precautions to consider
It is important to take precautions when using the Warrior II pose to avoid injury. The pose is best performed after a warm shower or bath, when the body is relatively loose.
It is best to avoid performing the pose at other times, as the body will be tighter and will be more susceptible to injury. It is also a good suggestion to avoid performing the pose for longer than 15 minutes at a time, as this can prove harmful to the body.