Alignment Tips: Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)

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Warrior 2, or Virabhadrasana II as it is known in Sanskrit, is a foundational yoga pose encountered in most yoga classes. Warrior 2 is so common that it is typically included in sun salutations and, when properly executed, it can be a very intense posture since it engages and aligns the whole body. 

What are the benefits of Warrior 2 pose?

The benefits of Warrior 2 are many and varied since it is truly a full-body pose. You can expect to feel some or all of the following benefits when you regularly incorporate this posture as part of your yoga practice:

  • Stretches your hips, groins, and shoulders
  • Stimulate abdominal organs
  • Increases strength, stamina, and concentration
  • Energizes and invigorates the mind and body
  • Develops balance and stability
  • Improves circulation and respiration

How to hold this pose

Chances are that Warrior 2 is not a new pose for most yogis but let’s break down the alignment to ensure you are optimizing the posture (Starting with right foot forward). 

  • Start in Mountain pose at the front of your mat and take a big step back with your left leg, foot parallel to the back of your mat. 
  • Press the four corners of your feet down, and firm up your legs.
  • As you inhale, raise your arms parallel to the floor, keeping your shoulders down and your neck long.
  • As you exhale, bend your right knee, keeping your knee over your ankle. 
  • Roll the top of your right thigh down towards the floor on the right. Press down through your big toe to balance that action.
  • Press the top of your left thigh back, and ground the outside (pinky toe side) of your left foot into the floor.
  • Draw your lower abdomen in and up and lengthen your spine. 
  • Gaze over your right fingertips.
  • Hold the pose for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.

Note, to prevent the front knee from collapsing inwards, wrap the muscles around the outer hip to externally rotate your leg (Pushing to the outside of your body). Engage your core to prevent your ribs from flaring which will also help protect your low back. 

Through regular practice of Warrior 2, you can expect to improve your overall focus, endurance, balance, strength, and stability while simultaneously opening areas of the body that tend to feel restricted or tight, like the hips and shoulders. With so much bang for its buck, it’s easy to see why many instructors incorporate Warrior 2 into their classes. 

Join us in the studio or from the comfort of your own home with our on-demand library of classes and see why Warrior 2 is one of our favorite poses.