Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2): Watch Your Knees

Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)Observing Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2) can tell you quite a bit about another person’s body. A very common misalignment is for the front knee to drift toward the inner foot instead of reaching out over the second and third toes. This inward knee drift indicates a tightness of the hip, but can lead to a knee injury if left unresolved. Always check your front knee when doing Warrior 2 to make sure you don’t accidentally injure yourself in this pose!

If your knee drifts inward, it will be tempting to try to change your alignment by moving your knee, but this won’t fix your issue. Instead, stick the hip of your front leg out behind you. Engage your abdominals to help you lift up slightly out of your lunge, then swivel your hip under you. Re-engage the muscles in your thigh, from your hip to your knee, and allow yourself to move back into your lunge with your knee correctly tracking over the second and third toes.

Warrior 2

  1. We will be using Ujjayi breathing. This breathing pattern will help you find the strength to settle into this pose, let go, and hold this challenging pose.
  2. I like to begin in Tadasana.
  3. Inhale the arms up and exhale into Uttanasana.
  4. Put a soft bend in the knees so that the fingertips can lightly touch down on either side of your feet. Keep the abdominals engaged so that your low belly is lifted off your thighs.

Left facing

  1. Send the right leg back so that your legs are parallel. You should be in a lunge.
  2. Spin the right foot down at a ninety degree angle so that you are lined up left heel to right heel or arch.
  3. Stick your left hip out behind you, then tuck it under. This will help get your femur (thigh bone) set correctly in your hip, preventing knee injury.
  4. Draw your low belly to your spine and lift up with your hands on your hips. Use your hands to make sure your hips are facing the same direction as your right toes. Make sure your ribs are aligned over your hips.
  5. Reach both arms straight out by your sides. You should be able to see your fingertips in your peripheral vision. Your fingertips should feel like they are actively reaching to opposite walls. This should help broaden your collarbones and keep your shoulders away from your ears.
  6. Turn your head to look out over your left fingers.
  7. Take a peek down to make sure that your left knee is tracking out over your second and third toes. In this pose, the front knee can bend to ninety degrees or more, depending on your strength and flexibility.
  8. Make sure that your right leg is straight with the outside edge of the right foot sealed to the mat.
  9. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
  10. As you hold, think about inhaling to lengthen and exhaling to soften and move deeper into the pose.
  11. Make sure that your rib cage stays stacked above your pelvis and avoid the temptation to let your upper body lean forward.
  12. After your breaths, straighten the left knee and spin the left toes to face the same direction as the right toes.

Right facing

  1. Make sure your right and left heels are on the same line, then spin the right toes out.
  2. Put a bend in the right knee.
  3. Bow forward slightly so you can stick the right hip out and bring it under you. This is to get your femur (thigh bone) and knee in the correct position.
  4. Come up with your hands on your hips. Use your hands to make sure your hips are facing the same direction as your right toes. Make sure your ribs are aligned over your hips.
  5. Repeat steps 9-16 for the right side.

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For visual learners, here is a video.

Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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