Summer is officially over and we are rolling into fall. It seems that many people become sick and have health issues during this transition. A way to stand strong and fight against illness is, of course, movement and yoga. Keep your metabolism up and release some serotonine. Yes, eating chocolate also releases serotonine but I feel like I have posted quite a fair amount of chocolate and raw desserts that I need to focus on the Yoga part again. For once. For the balance.
Let me introduce you to one of the most powerful yoga postures: Virabhadrasana II or Warrior II Pose. The standing pose is standard practice in most yoga classes. But few yogis know the tale of its genesis. It stems from ancient Hindu lore and the tales of the famous figure Virabhadra, “blessed hero“—which is typically rendered into English as “warrior.”
Warrior II is the stance of a strong warrior. It is an excellent way to stretch your groins and, even though both feet stay on the floor, improve your balance. You can also, to a lesser extent, strengthen your arms and open your chest. Yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar points out in his book Light on Yoga that Vira II “tones the abdominals,” and it’s a nice way to strengthen your legs and make them shapely. (source)
Above all, learning to stand strong in your standing poses empowers you to face whatever comes your way.
“How do I practice a correctly aligned Warrior II” you might want to know?!
Here is the key:
- Step your feet apart in a wide stance, with your heels aligned parallel to one another. Pivot your left foot out to a 90-degree angle and pivot your right foot in to a 45-degree angle. Plant your feet like roots, connecting through all of the corners of your feet while lifting through the arches.
- Focus on the leg work of Virabhadrasana II: Keep your arms relaxed at your sides and slowly bend your left knee until it comes directly over your ankle. Now explore the feeling of your weight. Lunge deeper into your left leg and then shift your weight into your back leg to feel the extremes, and then try to find the balance point.
- Let your left hip sink to draw you deeper into the lunge, but keep your right leg firm, inner thigh lifting. As your legs develop stamina and your hips open, you can begin to explore coming into a right angle with your front leg as if you are balancing something on your thigh.
- Bring your awareness to your torso. Are you collapsing into your lower back? Find your vertical center by turning your tailbone toward the earth. Without tension, lift your lower belly, the seat of your power, towards the spine. This action will awaken your center, so you can begin to extend out of your lower back and spread your chest open.Keep scanning your body to feel where you are losing awareness and balance and gaining strength and stamina.
Do you put attention to your alignment in Warrior II ? What type of sport/practice do you do to “stand strong”?