CONNOR T JOHNSON IS THE MAN ON THE MAT
VIRABHADRASANA II (WARRIOR II)
This is a classic yoga pose and a great way to start the new year with expansive, full body energy. I like this pose for a few reasons because it:
- Builds focus and stamina
- Stretches the legs, strengthens ankles
- Engages many parts of the body, truly a full body pose
- Stretches and expands hips and shoulders
- Actives the abdominal organs
I often see people try to get into the pose with their arms first. Think about starting with grounding your feet on the mat, sinking into the front knee and pushing down through both feet, then expand arms in either direction. I think people have a tendency to want to lean forward in this pose, I remind my classes to elongate their spine and sink deeper into the front knee.
This pose is fun to cue because there is so much happening so there are lots of ways to deepen the feel of the pose.
Here are a few things I like to remind my classes:
- Ground your feet onto the mat and push down onto the mat with your feet
- Inhale to elongate your spine, exhale sink lower into your front knee
- Try to work towards a 90-degree bend in the front knee, front knee stacked over ankle
- Roll your shoulders back
- Tuck your tailbone in underneath you
- Expand your hands in both directions and spread your wingspan out both ways
- Focus your Drishti (gaze) through your front middle finger
This is a very traditional yoga pose, but I like it because it allows someone at any level of their practice to really feel like they are engaging in a powerful pose. It’s a strong pose for the new year because we are taking up space, expanding in all directions and opening ourselves up to new energy. This pose can feel tiring because you are engaging so many parts of your body; breathe into those areas where you feel heat and tension. The moment you want to get out of the pose is when you are in it, stay for a few more breaths to let the pose do its work.