Warrior Pose 2, Virbhadrasana 2 for enhanced inner strength

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Techniques of Yoga articles

Warrior pose 2 is the second variation

of the Warrior group of poses

or yoga asanas. One of the explanation,

of why we have multiple variations,

forming a series of  Warrior,

or Virbhadra group of asanas,

is that all these postures have a direct relation,

to the corresponding stances of the fiery Virbhadra – the mythological warrior –

who was created from the locks of an angry Shiva, the Hindu lord of destruction.  Each  postural variation of Warrior Pose 2, Virbhdadrasana 2 displays the mightly stance of the mythological warrior in the battle ground.

The main difference between the first Warrior Pose  and Warrior Pose  2 is the position of the pelvis: In the first variation of the Warrior Pose the effort is made to keep the pelvis neutral,  neither tilting forward or backward as in Tadasana,  or keeping the front rim of the pelvis perpendicular to the front bent (right) leg, where as in Warrior pose 2  the front rim of the pelvis aligns itself almost in line with the front (right) bent leg, this is made possible by opening the pelvis , rotating the side of pelvis towards the back ( left) leg. Here, the outstretched back (left) leg, the front rim of the pelvis, and the thigh of the front (right) leg are almost in a stright line.

The two legs are in a  standing full split with one leg (right) bent at right angle at the knee.

Warrior Pose 2 Steps

  1. Stand in the center of the yoga mat in Tadasana facing its  longer edge
  2. Inhaling create 4 feet distance between the feet either by steping the feet apart or by separating the feet by jumping
  3. The  feet of the so separated legs (abduction) must be kept parallel to each other and pointing in the front
  4. Keep the legs engaged by lifting the knee caps up, the torso and the chest must also be kept lifted
  5. Take a short exhalation, inhaling lift stretch both the arms out parallel to the floor on both the sides of the body at shoulder height both the arms making a straight line with the shoulders, keep the plams facing down,  the upper arms rotated outward, avoid raising the shoulders and keep the shoulder blades pressed towards the spine
  6. The extension  begins at the shoulders,  passes through the straight elbows,  through the wrists into the extended fingers, thumbs are kept at right angles to the fingers
  7. keep the head vertically over the  neutrally held neck,  gaze is kept straight ahead
  8. Rotate the right  leg, thigh and the foot 90 degrees to the right, the right foot becomes parallel to the longer edge of the mat
  9.  Rotate the left foot in by 45 degrees, keep both the heels in a line with each other, keep the tailbone tucked in, and the weight of the body equally distributed over the two feet
  10. Make sure that the center line of the thighs, knees, and ankles of both the separated legs are in a  straight line by  keeping the thighs slightly rotated outward
  11. Avoid turning the torso to the right  while rotating the right foot outwards, the shoulders and arms remain aligned , exactly above, the separated legs
  12. The head, neck, sternum, and the navel  must be held in a straight line aligned with the spine
  13. Make sure that both the sides of the torso are kept lifted equally by pulling the abdomen in and lengthening the spine upward
  14. Exhaling bend the right knee till the right thigh comes parallel to the floor, the right knee must be kept exactly over the right ankle, avoid horizontally overshooting  the right knee  over the right ankle, the shin remains perpendicular to the floor,  prevent the torso from tilting to the right
  15. keep the top of the left thigh pressed backwards, and the outer edge of the left foot properly pressed into the mat
  16. Inhaling,  lift the chest, adjust the shoulders directly above the pelvis,  shoulders are kept rolled back and down, keep the pelvis slightly pressed down to keep it in line with the bend  right knee and the straight left leg
  17. Exhaling,  turn the head towards the right arm and look  directly at the right thumb, ground the posture properly by lifting the arches and pressing all the four corners of the feet (outer edge of the left foot) into the mat ,  as  recommended by the general principles of alignment in yoga
  18. Stay in the posture as far as comfortable, for coming out of the posture straighten the right knee while inhaling, turn the feet  to the front, exhaling drop the arms beside the torso and relax
  19. Repeat  with the other leg bent for completing one round
Warrior Pose 2, Virbhadrasana 2

Alignment Essentials , Modifications – Warrior Pose 2

  • If one feels instable by aligning the heels ina  stright line one can increase the  side by side width between the feet for stability
  • Do not lock the back knee, instead keep it extended, lengthened and unbend
  • Keep the front of the pelvis aligned to the extended  leg as much as possible
  • Keep th waist line parallel to the floor
  • First align the legs as per th einstructions and therafter the arms
  • One can use a metal folding chair as a prop in order to stabilise the Warrior Pose 2, the thigh of the bent leg can be rested upon the protruding seat of the metal chair for extra support
  • One can deepen the posture by rotating the arms and the palms upward and maintaining this position for a while
  • In order to prevent the tilting of the bent knee inwards consciousy keep the inside of the bent knee aligned to the little tow of the bent leg, also keep the thigh rotated externally
  • One can lean the torso a bit towards the bent leg with the stright line formed by the arms getting tilted, this will provide a nice stretch to the side of the torso opposite to the lean
  • Keep the abdominal muscles engaged and the tailbone extended towards the floor in order to keep the lower back extended
  • Coordinate the rotations of both the legs: the front leg is kept rotated outward and the back leg is keep rotated inwards
  • Keep the body weight equally distributed on both the feet while getting into Virbhadrasana 2
  • Keep the hip sin a straight line and the pelvis must align with the longer edge of the mat
  • For tight hips the distance between the legs can be reduced and the angle of bend in the front knee can also be reduced till proper flexibility of the hips and the pelvis is attained
  • In case of injured or weak shoulders the hands can be kept placed on the hips
  • Make sure that the back arm remains adequately lifted throughout the practice of the posture
  • If one finds the outer edge of the back foot properly pressed into the floor one can place this foot beside a wall and keep it pressed against this wall
  • Learn to involve the right attitude and action while doing Warrior Pose 2

Contraindications –  Virbhadrasana 2

People suffering from the conditions mentioned here must avoid practicing Warrior pose 2, Virbhadrasana 2 or must practice it under the supervision of an expert.

  • Hypertension
  • Diarrhea
  • Neck injury – can do by avoiding turning the head towards the front arm
  • Knee problems, arthritis- can do for shorter duration with a support
  • Warrior Pose 2 can strain the heart, thus people with cardiac issues must avoid it
  • People suffering from anaemia or breathing issues must practice it under expert guidance
  • Recent hip or shoulder injury
  • Pregnant women can practice Warrior Pose 2 supported by a wall or some other external support

Practicing Virbhadrasana 2 on an empty stomach is recommended.

Warrior Pose 2 –  Focal Movements

The focal movements that take place while doing Warrior Pose 2 include external hip rotation and abduction, ankle dorsiflexion with the outer foot, and adduction of the shoulder blades.  Being an open hip pose it tones the outer thighs and stretches the inner thighs.  One can feel the strength of the deep hip rotators and the adjacent hip abductors (gluteus medius) on the  extended back leg. 

The strength od the  quadriceps (thigh muscles) help stabilize the knee alignment.  One must focus on the stretch experienced at one’s inner thighs (adductors) and one’s extended leg’s outer calf and ankle (gastrocnemius and soleus muscles).

Warrior Pose 2 – Body Reading

In case one is unable to lift the  arch od the back foot  it reveals  the stiffness in the corresponding ankle. If the lack of symmetry in the hip and shoulder height is apparent along with a unlevelled pelvis, it may be due to the presence of Scoliosis of the spine. If the knees exhibit knock-knees  tendency it may be due to the shortness of the adductor muscles (inner thighs). 

If the  front thigh is not easily coming parallel to the floor it indicates the tightness in the hips. Restriction in the inner thigh muscles may lead to the inability to maintain the pelvic thrust. Weakness of the deltoid muscles ( shoulders) will cause the arms to drop, while the weakness of the serratus anterior muscle  may cause one’s breath to be shallow. 

Warrior 2 Pose Benefits 

In General, standing asanas correct deformities in the legs and tone the leg muscles.  Warrior pose 2 on the other hands provides a number of benefits if done with proper technique and adhering to the right alignments.

  • Just like the first variation of Warrior  group of poses it helps increase mental and physical stamina
  • It helps remove day to day work fatigue
  • As Virbhadrasana 2 helps open the groin it helps release the compression of the lower back which benefit the lower back pain, it is  one of the very effective techniques of yoga for lower back pain relief
  • It helps strengthen the ankles and the legs, Warrior Pose 2 must always be included in the yoga techniques for  ankle flexibility
  • It stimulates the abdominal organs and helps open the chest and the shoulders (deltoid muscle)
  • It is a good posture to heal sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome,  and osteoporosis as it helps apply adequate stress on the skeleton for bone health
  • Since one is requires to lift the arches of the feet while doing Virbhadrasana 2 it benefits the flat feet condition
  • It helps cure infertility issues, its s a good include in the yoga techniques for fertility enhancement
  • It helps stretch the arms and strengthens them in the process
  • It helps relieve frozen shoulders , tones the knees, and helps remove fat from around the hips, its a good include in the yoga techniques for hip flexibility
  • It  helps heal the leg cramps condition especially of the calf region
  • Since this pose helps open the chest it improves the lung capacity, it forms a crucial adjunct to the yoga techniques for lung capacity enhancement
  • Regular practice of Warrior Pose 2 helps improve one’s sense of balance
  • As the knees get locked here and the energy of the legs flows upwards, this yoga posture restricts the flow of the blood downwards, instead it directs the nourishment loaded blood upwards into the abdominal organs benefiting the  digestion process
  • As practicing Virbhadrasana 2 regularly helps lengthen the inner thigh muscles and the hamstring muscles it benefits the urogenital health
  • Since getting into the Warrior Pose 2 needs coordination of  various body parts it helps improve one’s awareness especially as one needs to constantly keep the back arm at higher  level aligned with the front arm
  • Holding the pose by fixing the gaze at the front hand helps improve one’s concentration power 

Preparatory Poses – Virbhadrasana 2

Utthita Trikonasna 


Mountain Pose

Follow Up Poses – Virbhadrasana 2