Warrior 2: From the Ground Up
Warrior 2 is a strong and active yoga posture that helps to channel your inner-warrior. It’s great for building stamina and focus, as well as building ankle, calf, hamstring, quad, core and shoulder strength. However…if done incorrectly it will channel a world of pain into your muscles and joints.
Here is a list of areas to review while practicing your Warrior 2 pose.
Even weight between both feet
Open Hips/Slight pelvic tilt
Shoulder stack/draw back and down
Strong active arms
It’s very important to maintain proper bone stacking and muscular activation while in any pose. Each posture has specific areas of the body to activate or relax to fully realize the pose. This list is to help ensure a safe foundation for a healthy Warrior 2 stance, starting from the ground up.
Even Weight Between Both Feet
Take a wide-legged straddle stance, toes facing forward, then raise your arms into a T position out at your side. Look down and see that your feet are roughly under your wrists. Turn your right foot so it’s facing 90 degrees to the right. Pivot your left foot to the right slightly, by kicking your heel back or turning your toes in. Find stillness here for a moment. Bring attention to the weight in your feet, and try distribute your weight evenly between both feet. You can do this by pushing down into the pinkie side edge of your left foot. As well as pushing down into the ball mount of your right foot. As you move forward, bending into the right knee, keep your legs active and stay evenly weighted in both feet.
Bend into the right knee until that knee is stacked directly over your right ankle. You’re working towards a 90 degree angle with your right thigh parallel to the ground. Your left leg is straight and strong, protecting your knee from locking. Activate your inner thighs slightly, pulling them towards eachother to help stabilize you. Now check the alignment of your right knee again. In this pose the bent knee often falls left or right or is over extended past the ankle. When this occurs there is excess stress on the knee-joint. Prevent that by maintaining a proper knee stack, checking it again and again. Practicing this proper alignment now will help prevent injuries from occurring later.
Open Hips / Slight Pelvic Tilt
Now bring attention to your hips. Warrior 2 is an open hip posture, meaning you want to work towards keeping your hips opening to the side even though you’ve turned your toes to the right. Keeping a strong rooted back leg will help allow the hips to stay open. Also, a slight tuck of the pelvis will help power up your legs and core, while protecting your low back muscles. So far, you have a strong foundation from the ground to your core. Now let’s look at the shoulders and then the arms.
Shoulder Stack / Draw Back and Down
The tendency is to lean the center of the chest towards the right knee. So look down and align your shoulders directly over you hips. At the same time, draw your shoulders back and down away from your ears while you pull your shoulder blades together. This activates your shoulder muscles and creates space for you to elongate the spine. As you pull the shoulders back and down, lifting up through the crown of your head is what helps to elongate the spine.
Strong Active Arms
Your arms are in a T position and your shoulders are active and stacked over your hips. Your arms are parallel to the ground and your activity reaching out through your finger tips. Strong active arms along with a strong active core and legs allows you to hold this Warrior 2 posture with integrity. The purpose of this pose is to stretch and strengthen both the mind and muscles. Find calm and ease in Warrior 2 with proper alignment and engagement. The simplest things really makes a difference in how this pose feels, such as reaching out through your finger tips.
The Benefits of Warrior 2
The benefits from practicing Warrior 2 with proper alignment and stack include both mental and physical stability. This pose strengthens the ankles, calves, legs, core, shoulders, and arms muscles. It stretches the ankles, opens the hips and chest, and builds strength in the knee-joint. Further more it improves concentration, circulation, balance, and energizes the body.
Our body is our temple and to take care of it is priority. Regardless of the yoga pose, learn the technique to maintain a long, safe and healthy practice. Remember to train both sides and allow your breath to guide your movements.