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Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Throughout 2022, OM is exploring all the key poses that make up the Sun Salutation sequence, yoga’s most familiar and graceful sequence. By Dr Kiki Morriss
Sun Salutation 2022
This month we look in depth at Warrior II, which can be added to the Sun Salutation sequence to create diversity within the flow. This energising standing pose will help you develop strength, flexibility, balance and focus. Move through the Sun Salutation sequence and from Downward Dog step your right foot forwards into Warrior II. Hold the pose for five breaths, then return to Downward Dog, and continue with the Sun Salutation sequence. Repeat on the left side.
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- From Downward Dog, step your right foot forwards between your hands.
- Turn your left foot out 45º, pressing the edge of the foot firmly into the ground.
- Straighten your back leg.
- Bend your right knee to a right angle and align your knee directly above your ankle.
- Align your ankles with each other.
- Turn your pelvis so it is facing the left side of your mat.
- Lift your straight arms at shoulder height with your palms facing down.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Hold your chin parallel to the ground.
- Your focal point (drishti) is along your front arm and to a fixed point straight ahead of you. Alternatively close your eyes and draw your focus inwards.
HANDS, ARMS & SHOULDERS
- Use your lateral and posterior deltoids to lift your arms.
- Engage your teres minor and infraspinatus muscles to externally rotate your upper arms at your shoulders.
- Turn your palms down to face the ground (pronation) by using your pronators teres and quadratus.
- Spread your arms apart by using your serratus anterior.
- Use the lower third of your trapezius to soften your shoulders away from your ears.
- Engage your triceps to straighten your elbows.
- Reach your front fingers forwards and your back fingers backwards.
- Broaden across your collarbones.
- Open your chest.
HIPS & LEGS
- Engage your psoas and hip flexors to flex your front hip.
- Bend your front knee and align it directly above your front ankle.
- Use your sartorius and tensor fascia lata to keep your front knee aligned over your ankle and to prevent it from moving inward.
- Use the quadriceps of your front leg to stabilise the pose and to stop your front knee from over-bending. This will protect your knee tendons from overstretching.
- Use the quadriceps of your back leg to straighten it.
- Position your pelvis so it is facing to the side of your mat. Placing your hands on your iliac crests will help you position your pelvis correctly.
- Reduce pressure on your lower back by lengthening upwards through your spine.
- Strengthens and stretches ankles, legs, arms, core and back.
- Opens chest and shoulders.
- Stretches and strengthens shoulders.
- Stretches and strengthens hip flexors.
- Improves posture.
- Develops focus, power and stability.
- Improves stamina.
- If you have a knee injury, decrease the bend in your front leg.
- If you have high blood pressure, hold your arms by your side or in Prayer Pose in front of your chest.
- Practice with caution if you have an ankle, knee, groin, back injury/issue or if you have high blood pressure.
- Warrior II activates the Muladhara (Root) Chakra, Svadisthana (Sacral) Chakra, Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra and Anahata (Heart) Chakra.
- Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spine and when it is in balance we feel grounded, strong, secure and able to stand tall on our own two feet.
- Svadisthana Chakra is associated with your reproductive system and when it is in balance we feel creative, productive, positive and comfortable with change.
- Manipura Chakra is our powerhouse and is associated with our self esteem, sense of purpose, personal identity and individual will. When it is in balance we are in touch with our inner power, have a strong sense of purpose, can bring our ideas into form and have a profound level of willpower.
- Anahata Chakra is the centre of love and when it is in balance you are able to experience the power of love, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. We love unconditionally and embrace life fully when this chakra is open.