Photo cred: Dean Pohlman of manflowyoga.com
Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna) Virabhadra = Warrior Asana = Posture
Get Started: :: Start in Downward-Facing Dog, set your right foot between your hands and come to standing :: Bring your feet to heel-or-heel or heel-to-arch alignment, about 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart :: Stack your right knee over your right ankle, tracking the knee over the first and second toes :: Allow your left foot to come to a 90 degree angle :: Bring your left thigh parallel to the floor if possible :: Square your hips/pelvis to the side of the room :: Roll your shoulders away from your ears and bring your arms to a capital "T" facing the side of the room :: Gaze over your right finger tips :: Maintain strength in your left foot and leg
Benefits: Warrior II strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles. It stretches the groins, chest and lungs and the shoulders, while stimulating the abdominal organs and increasing stamina. It also relieves backaches, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy. The pose can be therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica.
Contradictions: Be careful practicing this pose if you have diarrhea or high blood pressure. If you have neck problems, avoiding turning your head to gaze over your finger tips and look forward instead.
Know your asana: Virabhadra is the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva. Traditionally, Virabhadra is described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet, wielding a thousand clubs, and wearing a tiger's skin.
Read more: Yoga Pet Peeve | Virabhadrasana I > II | Correct Transitions Attention Yoga Newbies: 5 Need to Know Poses Warrior II w/ Erica Mather (video inside!) 6 Reasons You Should Stop Obsessing Over Alignment in Yoga Class Create a Routine & Stick With it: 10 Tips for Practicing Yoga at Home