Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana II, is a beloved and beneficial pose and is very likely to show up in your yoga class.
As you progress in your yoga practice, it is important to fine-tune this pose so that your alignment is the best it can be.
There are a lot of body parts to keep track of, but here are some simple ways to adjust the most common Warrior II misalignments. Consider these three factors when practicing this pose.
1. Faulty Dimensions of Your Base and Stance
Width of Base
A base that is too wide will misalign the body, especially the pelvis. The front heel should be lined up with the arch of the back foot. This simple adjustment corrects the width of your stance.
Length of Base
You should take your longest stance possible in Warrior II. Many students do not realize this, and when transitioning from a prior pose, like Warrior I, they do not adjust their leg and foot position. In order to keep the front knee at ninety degrees, the length of your stance and base should be as long as you can manage. Some teachers such as Iyengar suggest 4 to 4.5 feet in distance.
2. Splayed or Dumped Front Knee
In Warrior II, we want the knee to be on top of the ankle. When the body is struggling to find that ninety-degree bend for the front knee, we can allow the knee to be behind the ankle. However, we never want the knee to end up in front of the ankle. Lengthening your stance will help with this.
Now that the knee is aligned over the ankle, it very often leans inward. Take a look at your knee and push it out toward the little toe side of the foot. Your knee should look like it would shoot a straight line over the second and third toe. Properly aligning your knee every time you are in Warrior II will prevent knee pain.
3. Forward-Leaning Torso
As soon as the arms reach out, many students tend to lean toward their forward gaze. To fix this, draw the base of the shoulder blades down the back as you lengthen your spine and grow tall in your torso.
Align your torso over the pelvis so that it is somewhat perpendicular to the floor's surface. Engage and tuck in your core so that the belly isn't leading the charge. Reach through both arms as if someone were pulling you equally to the front and to the back.
Next time you settle into Warrior II, use all three tips in concert. Inhale and lengthen your spine to get taller in the torso. As you exhale, sink lower into the legs lengthening them if you get more flexible as you open up.
Continue to check that front knee is in proper alignment without splaying inward. With these easy steps, you will be a beautiful and strong warrior.