Benefits and Uses
Warrior II, like Warrior I, is a challenging all-over body strengthener. Warrior II is also a deep hip and upper body opener and has been said to alleviate backaches during pregnancy, as well as to increase fertility. Use Warrior II before or after Warrior I to create a complementary pose sequence.
Stand at the top of your mat in the mountain pose and walk your right leg towards the back of your mat (about three or so feet behind). Place your right foot so that it is perpendicular to your left (front) foot; the heel of your front foot would intersect the arch of your back foot if you drew an imaginary line. Inhale as you slowly bend your left knee so that your knee is over your ankle and your thigh is parallel to the floor (if this is too strenuous simply do not bend as deep). Lift your arms up by your sides at shoulder level, one pointing forward and one toward the back of your mat. Reach your shoulder blades toward one another to strengthen your back and open your chest. If it is comfortable for your neck, turn your head to gaze beyond the middle finger of your left (front) hand. Feel the contrast of your feet and legs grounding strongly into the earth while your spine stands tall. Repeat on opposite side.
- Breath: Breathing deeply and steadily (using ujjayi breath if possible) is very important in this challenging pose as it will help you to relax in spite of the difficulty. Imagine your breath infiltrating all the parts of your body that feel the tension and opening you up to receive the benefits of the pose. How does incorporating breath change your experience of Warrior II?
- Modifications: Place a chair under your front (bent) leg for support if needed (especially later on in your pregnancy), but try to focus on maintaining the alignment of the rest of your body. You can also play around with the angle of your front knee - lessen the bend in your knee for less intensity, bring your front thigh parallel to the floor for more.
- Release: Breath into the pose for 30 seconds to one minute and when you feel ready to release, lower your arms as you straighten your front leg. Walk your feet together and return to the mountain pose until ready to move on.