Virabhadrasana Two — Warrior Two Pose. Vira means a hero, brave; Virabhadra is the name of a fierce mythical warrior created by Shiva.
Feet:  Feet are a leg’s distance apart.  Front foot is facing forward, and back foot is slightly turned in.  All four corners of your feet pressed into the floor. Front heel intersects the back arch.  Press through the back edge of your foot and heel.
Legs:  Front knee is bent 90 degrees; front thigh is parallel to the floor.  Front knee is over the right ankle.
Hip: Hips are open to the side of the mat.
Torso:  Sides of torso equally long, with tailbone releasing towards the floor.
Shoulders:  Shoulders are drawing down toward the floor at the shoulder blades.
Chest:  Chest is facing the side of your mat expanded and broad.
Arms:  Arms are even and parallel to the floor, reaching out to the sides with palms facing down.
Neck:  Elongate and move the crown of your head up to the ceiling.  Neck and face turned towards the front arm.
Gaze/Dristi: Over the front middle finger.
Contraindications:  Lower back pain, knee and hip injuries, shoulder and neck injuries.
Modifications: Arms to the hips, knee is slightly bent.
Benefits:  Strengthens your back muscles, stretches your legs and ankles, and stretches chest and lungs to help deep breathing.
Major Muscle Groups:

  1. (Legs) The Adductor magnus internally rotates and moves the femur back to extend the knee, the vastii and articularis genus activates to deepen the dorsiflexion in the ankle; the intrinsic foot muscles need to maintain the integrity of the arches of the foot so that the extrinsic muscles can release the ankle.
  2. (Torso) Psoas Minor obliques; deep Extensors work precisely to maintain a neutral spinal alignment.
  3. (Arms) The Serratus Anterior upwardly rotates and abducts the scapulae, while the Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, and Posterior Deltoids work to rotate externally the glenohumeral.

Counter pose:  Downward facing dog.
Chakra: Muladhara (First Chakra) and is visualized as the color Red.
Inhale or Exhale:  Exhale (inhale to extend the arms; exhale to flex or bend your front knee).
Props: Belts, Blocks, Rope, Wall, Bench, Chair or Sandbags, etc.

  • Belt: Hold belt in hands behind you to help stretch the arms long.
  • Block: Balance a block on your head.
  • Wall: Back foot resting on the wall, toes of the front foot against the wall.
  • Chair: Place it underneath your bent leg and sit on a chair.

Advanced Variations:  Try to get knee and hip in the same plane. Turn palms and inner elbow creases up towards the ceiling while you draw the shoulder blades down the back. Maintain the rotation of the arms. Then turn your palms from the wrist to face the floor again.
Therapeutic Modifications:  Chair under right thigh.
Adjustments/Hands on Assist for Yoga Teachers:>

  1. Press all sides of the foot down (right heel is in line with the back of the arch of the right foot).
  2. Align knee with toes (knee tracking over the center of the foot).
  3. Draw the Hip bones together with both hands.
  4. Turn head to be sure gaze is over the front hand.
  5. Draw the hip open while kneeling on one knee, pressing stomach against sacrum for support while opening hips.

Asana Teaching, Myth, Story and Metaphor: The Warrior Poses take strength, steadiness, and a fierce determination to sustain your position with integrity. The story of Virabhadra is one of fierce service, that of a warrior who serves the wishes of Shiva, his creator.  When called to fight it is never easy, nor does our Shiva Shanti Yoga teachings support violence in any form. Shiva had created this warrior under severe emotional pain and loss and in time comes to regret the damage done by Virabhadra.
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