Warrior II, also known as “Virabhadrasana II,” is a posture that helps to strengthen the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and arms. Because this is a strengthening posture, it helps to build self-confidence. Be cautious moving into this pose if you have any ailments that affect the knee joint.
Moving into the pose
1. Starting from a standing position (“Tadasana”), step your left foot back until your right leg is in a lunge. Your right knee should be at a 90 degree angle, with the knee parallel to your ankle. (It’s OK for the knee to be behind the ankle, but never in front of the ankle). The left leg is straight.
2. Bring your heels into perpendicular alignment by pivoting your left heel to the right. This will rotate your upper body to the left.
3. Raise your arms so they are even with your shoulders and gaze softly over your front fingers.
Scan your body from head to toe
Both feet are flat on the ground; you should feel your body weight equally in both legs while making sure your right knee is not in front of your ankle. Your back is straight and shoulders relaxed; hands and shoulders are on an even plane. Breathe deeply and with control for 10 to 20 seconds, focusing on relaxing any tense areas. The goal is to keep your muscles firm, but not strained.
To move out of the posture, bring your left foot forward until it is even with your right foot and return your arms to your sides. Step your right foot back and repeat on the other side of the body.
Tip: If you are new to yoga, be sure to take it slow and not overexert yourself. Practice transitioning in and out of the postures with fluidity and control.
Anthony DiTomaso is an NCBTMB-certified massage therapist, Yoga Alliance-certified instructor, anatomy and physiology instructor, as well as professional fitness model. He is also an experienced instructor in personal training, nutrition education, energetic healing and Five Element and traditional Chinese medicine theory. DiTomaso has taught introductory massage courses and continuing education seminars for massage therapists and yogis throughout the U.S. He is the owner of Empowerment Unlimited Body Works Inc. and offers the DVD Yoga For Massage Therapists (www.yogaformassagetherapists.com).