What is Virabhadrasana Two?
Similar to Virabhadrasana One, Warrior Two also represents a mythological character, Virabhadra, that was created by Lord Shiva. The posture also works on building strength and balance, while symbolizing grace and beauty.
Virabhadrasana Two activates and balances the earth element, while strengthening the ankles, shoulders, thighs, back, arms and calves. The muscles and connective tissues of the region get strengthened and stretched, leading to a good fascia release.
Position type: Standing lunge
Posture type: Strengthen
Ideal for: Strength
Targets: Legs, back, arms, shoulders
Pose level: Beginner
How to prepare for Warrior Two
- Legs and Core strength: To prepare for Warrior Two, one can start with Warrior One. Virabhdrasana One helps you build the required leg and core strength. As you develop strength and stamina, you will be able to practice Warrior Two effortlessly. You can hold the posture for longer, improve alignment and strengthen the muscles much more. Virabhadrasana Two also works as a preparatory pose for challenging yoga asanas. Other postures that help prepare for Virabhadrasana Two are the swaying palm tree pose, standing spinal twist, chair pose and the boat pose. Surya Namaskar practiced at a medium to fast pace is very helpful.
- Balance and flexibility: Building balance and flexibility helps perform the posture gracefully. Since this is a lunge, the better the balance, the deeper you can go in the posture. To prepare, you can start with practicing the standing forward fold, garland pose, low lunge, high lunge, tree pose and eagle pose.
How to do Virabhadrasana Two
Getting into the posture
- The starting position is the same as Virabhadrasana One. Stand at the center of your mat. Now place your right foot at the front of your mat and left foot at the back. Your left foot should be turned outwards, about 90 degrees (or slightly less) and the hip points are facing the left side of your mat.
- Align your front heel and back arch. Now gently bend the right knee so that it comes directly over the right ankle and your thigh is as close to being parallel to the floor as possible.
- Keep your shoulders over your hips and bring your hands parallel to the mat, with one arm pointing towards the front foot and the other hand pointing towards the back leg. Turn your head and keep your gaze (Drishti) towards the fingertips of the arm in front.
- Stay here for five to ten deep breaths while maintaining your alignment.
Getting out of the posture
- To come out of the posture first lower your hands, then straighten the bent leg and gently come back to the center of the mat.
- Repeat the posture with the other foot forward.
Key alignments in Virabhadrasana Two
- Keep the arms straight and inline with the shoulders. They should not go too high or low.
- The chest and shoulders should remain open and straight. Do not let the shoulders bend forward.
- Similar to Warrior One, the feet should be in one line and in a wide-stance.
What are the benefits of Virabhadrasana Two?
Warrior Two improves balance, stability and stamina. It strengthens and tones the legs, all the muscles of the thighs, calves and hips. The back muscles, shoulders and arms get stronger too. Since all these regions get stronger, the posture is good for those with a sedentary lifestyle. It releases body stiffness and tension from areas like the shoulders. Postures of the warrior series, like Warrior Two, represent a brave fighter and encourage grace and strength.
What are the contraindications of Virabhadrasana Two?
Warrior Two should be avoided by anyone with knee pain or a knee injury, back pain or spinal injury, and anyone recovering from a muscle strain. it is best to avoid the posture until the pain has subsided. If you have shoulder pain, you can keep the hands down rather than raising them up. In the case of seniors or those with arthritis, you can use the support of a chair or the wall when practicing. Anyone with heart problems or high blood pressure should avoid the posture.
Counter poses of Virabhadrasana Two
Practice the standing forward fold posture or sit in Dandasana for a few minutes. This will rest the legs and back after the intense stretch.
Variations of Virabhadrasana Two
- Rest the arms on the hips instead of raising them up.
- Keep the thigh of the bent leg at a slight angle instead of bringing it parallel to the floor. As and when strength and balance improves, you will be able to bring the thighs parallel to the floor.
Advice for beginners
Getting the alignment right is more important than holding the posture for longer. So even if you are holding the pose for just a few breaths, practice with the right alignment. Ensure your knee is in-line with the foot (for the front leg) and hands are parallel to the mat.
Shvasa tips for Virabhadrasna Two
- Do your warm ups and leg stretches before practicing Warrior Two.
- Shoulders should remain relaxed and not tense, drawn up towards the ears or hunched forward.
- Try to practice in coordination with your breath. If you experience pain or tightness, immediately relax and try again.