Asana of the Week: Virabhadrasana II

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) is a pose that I go to when seeking empowerment.  The body expands in every direction from the inside out as the chest is broadened, the hips are opened, the legs are strengthened, and the arms powerfully extend.

The outer ankle and calf muscles of the back leg are stretched.  The adductors of both legs are eccentrically lengthened, and the quadriceps and hamstrings engage strongly to hold the front leg in position.  Uddiyana bandha (navel lock) draws the belly in and supports the low back.  The rhomboids pull the tips of the shoulderblades together and down, which lifts and expands the rib cage.  The deltoids and supraspinatus work together to extend the arms.

The width of the stance controls the intensity of the sensation in the hips and thighs.  Balance the pose by maintaining awareness in the back leg.  Try to take some additional weight into the back leg by engaging the adductors of the thigh to press the sole of the foot firmly into the ground.  Ensure that the front knee does not collapse to the inside of the ankle by contracting the glutes and piriformis to pull the hips open.  It can be useful to take the gaze down for a moment to see if the big toe is visible to the inside of the knee.  If not, press into the inner edge of the foot and engage through the outer hip to pull the knee open some more.  Extend all the way out through the fingertips and press the shoulders away from the ears.  Keep the heart broad and lifted.

Virabhadrasana II Sequence:  This sequence will light your thighs on fire, in a good way.  Use your Ujjayi pranayama to stoke the flames.  Try to increase your stay in Virabhadrasana II by a few breaths each time you enter the pose.
  1. Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  2. Vinyasa
  3. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1)
  4. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
  5. Parsvakonasana (Side Angle Pose)
  6. Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2)
  7. Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  8. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
  9. Virabhadrasana II w/ Chest Opener (Warrior 2) - Interlace fingers behind the back.  Press down through the knuckles and roll the shoulders back.  Engage jalandhara bandha (throat lock).  Stay for at least 10 breaths.
  10. Prasarita Padottanasana C (Wide Leg Forward Fold) - Keep the fingers interlaced and take the hands overhead toward the floor.  If the shoulders cramp from the position of the arms, release the hands to the floor.
  11. Step to standing, Ashtanga-style
  12. Repeat steps 1-11 on the opposite side.


  1. One of my new favourites! I will try and check your sequence sometime next week, we did something very similar in a vinyasa class the other day- but yours seem even more intense.

  2. Mixandmatch - The sequence here isn't terribly original, but it sure is strengthening. I like to park in Warrior II for a good long while at least once per practice to build endurance and explore those scary, dark places in the groins and hip joints that tend to fire up in this pose.