Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II
• Increases stamina
• Strengthens the legs and arms
• Opens the hips, chest, and shoulders
• Stimulates abdominal organs
• When practice in proper alignment, over time, strengthens quads and improves knee health
Technique: From Mountain pose (standing tall) bring the hands to the hips and step the feet out about 3.5ft, the longer the legs you have, the wider the stance you will need. Pivot your right foot out and keep the back foot at 90 degrees or turned in at about a 45 degree angle. Align the right heel with the arch of the back left foot.
Exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle. Point the right knee toward the little-toe side of the right foot.
Inhale the arms out to the sides so they are parallel to the floor. Engage the muscles between the shoulders as you draw the shoulders together and down the back. Make sure the torso is not leaning forward. Keep the torso and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Engage the abdominal muscles and lengthen the tailbone downwards. Turn the head to softly gaze over the fingers of the left hand.
Hold for about five breaths. The longer the pose is held, the more strength and endurance you will build. Inhale to come up. Pivot the feet to the opposite side and repeat for the same length of time.
* When Warrior II is practiced in proper alignment, it can strengthen the quads, and over time, improve knee health. Proper alignment in Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) allows the vastus medialis to work in harmony with the other quadriceps to align and strengthen the muscles stabilizing the knee. To make sure you are in correct alignment in Warrior II, check to make sure that the knee is not extending past the ankle. Also, check to see if the knee is above the third toe, and that both the toe and the knee are on the same plane as the sit bone. The knee falls inward if the vastus medialis (the inner quad muscle) is not properly engaged. The vastus laterialis (the outer quad muscle) then pulls the kneecap outward which stresses the inner knee, therefore, it is essential to make sure that the knee is not falling inward and is in proper alignment.
- Lisa Lynch, R.Y.T.
Lisa teaches in Portland, Oregon