Yoga Poses - Warrior II

Warrior II (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet, wielding a thousand clubs, and wearing a tiger's skin

Stand in Tadasana. With an exhalation, step your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.

Turn your right foot in slightly to the right and your left foot out to the left at 90 degrees. Align the left heel with the right heel. Firm your thighs and turn your left thigh outward so that the center of the left knee cap is in line with the center of the left ankle.

Exhale and bend your left knee over the left ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor, bring the left thigh parallel to the floor if this is comfortable. Anchor this movement of the left knee by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer right heel firmly to the floor.

Stretch the arms away from the space between the shoulder blades, parallel to the floor. Don't lean the torso over the left thigh: keep the sides of the torso equally long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press the tailbone slightly toward the pubis. Turn the head to the left and look out over the fingers.

Stay for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Inhale to come up. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.