WARRIOR II – VIRABHARDASANA II
The Yoga Sutra includes three warrior poses representing an epic scene narrated in the Hindu Mythology:
The name warrior might seem strange in a non-violent discipline such as Yoga, although we should think of a warrior fighting against ignorance, and especially the lack of knowledge of oneself, which is source of sorrow for human beings.
I love warrior asanas for the width and body extension they allow, conveying a sense of strength, power and braveness.
Different from Warrior I is Warrior II, where the back leg rotates to the left by a 90° angle and hips open up and the pelvis points towards your left side.
Alike Warrior I, keep your feet approximately 4 feet (1 meter) apart, heels on the same line, firmly planted to earth. The right foot still points forward, while shin and thigh ideally create a 90° angle, shin perpendicular to the ground, thigh parallel to it. Again, this is an ideal, so you can stay taller if this requires too much strength and opening.
Differently from Warrior I, here your trunk faces left, so that your whole body should lay on a plan. Try to create a square: keep the sides of the torso equally long and shoulders directly over your pelvis. Extend your arms in parallel to the ground, on the same plane as your trunk: right arm in front of you, left arm back. Look beyond your right middle finger and take your shoulder down, opening them wide.
BENEFITS AND SYMBOLIC MEANING
Warrior II helps strengthening legs, glutes, hips, the core area and shoulders, especially if you hold the pose for long – say 30 seconds- with no risk of injury.
While developing our sense of groundedness to earth, the pose is useful to develop our endurance and body resilience.
If you can hold the pose for long, you’ll start noticing the areas of your body where you cumulate tension, for example in the neck and shoulders region, or in the front leg. Resisting and keeping the pose, breathing deeply into those regions, will help you not only to recognize, but also to release them.
This action, transposed in emotional terms, is helpful to recognize in which occasions of our daily life we tend to cumulate unnecessary tensions. Recognition is the first step to start letting go, avoiding charging ourselves with futile stress, and letting go of those strain and pressure, to find balance and stillness within ourSelves.
Being a pose that you are likely to hold for quite a long time during a practice, on the emotional level, Warrior II is also helpful to stimulate acceptance, both of the inner and of the outer world as they are. There’s no need to rush in trying to change things, especially if they are not under our control. Developing acceptance for things as they are now will bring peace to your lives and a sense of tranquility within yourself and in your relationship with others.