Warrior 2 Pose, Virabhadrasana 2, is often the starting position before we move to next asana. Therefore, the better you align in Warrior 2, the better you can perform the subsequent poses. Some common mistakes in Virabhadrasana 2, such as front knee twisted out of the line, pelvis tilted forward or chest collapsed, can be avoid by getting into this standing pose intelligently and mindfully. Give precedence to these key alignments, then your Warrior 2 will look more graceful and courageous like a real warrior.
The advantage of separate-legged standing pose over the one-legged standing pose is its stability built from the big stance. So do not be afraid to step wide when come in to Warrior 2. Many teachers suggest different distances and many ways to measure how big it should be in Virabhadrasana 2. I would say this depends on the strength and flexibility of your groins. If you feel like both feet tend to slide away from each other all the time when you hold Warrior 2, it means your legs are too wide. But if you feel like no need to put any effort to stabilize your stance, your Virabhadrasana 2’s legs are too close. Go as wide as you can still feel like you are drawing your both feet toward each other, not sliding them away from each other.
My choice for feet alignment in Warrior 2 is to have two heels in one line. There are also other ways to align your feet, which is a little bit different, that you can try. The idea is to have your pelvis upright in neutral position, not tilted forward. You can do this by having front foot, specifically second toe, pointed forward, and back foot pointed out to the side 90 degree angle, slightly inward is also fine. Front thigh should be rolled out until the knee stacking over the ankle, otherwise your pelvis will start to tilt forward and lower back will be compressed. If you cannot external rotate your front thigh, make a little bit shorter stance, letting your hips come up a bit higher. Despite of your thigh rolled out, you do not collapse to the outer edge of the foot, keep the mound of big toe and inner heel pressing down.
Straighten your back leg, keep the thigh engaged, gently grip the muscles around your kneecap and ground the outer edge of back foot down to the floor. At the same time spread the toes of your back foot, lift the arch and press down your inner heel. This action will draw the energy up the inner of your back leg to the core of your pelvis. Right now you are energetically stabilizing your pelvis, ready for the upper part of Warrior 2 Pose.
A brave warrior shines his courage bright. That is what you are going to do with your Warrior 2’s chest and torso. If the lower body of Virabhadrasana 2 are grounded down properly and strongly enough, you should feel the uplifting energy in your pelvis. Visualize that you are delivering this energy up your spine. Lift the ribcage up to create a straight energy channel, make it easier for the energy to travel all the way up to the chest. Straight channel as I mean it. You do not arch or round the back. Your neutral pelvis allows your tailbone to be dropped down, extending your lower spine. Then you lift your sternum up toward your chin, not push it forward or press it in toward your back. By this way, your brave heart shines bright in Warrior 2.
The warrior holds his heavy sword with his strong arms. So please do not think that standing pose is only for leg strength. The outstretch arms of Virabhadrasana 2 also have some function to do. To keep your heart shining brightly in Warrior 2, shoulders have to be dropped, allow some space for sternum to be lifting, and shoulder blades should be firm on the upper back to create great support for your upper torso. Your tricep muscles can help with this by rolling your upper arms out to plug the head of your arm bones into the shoulder sockets. However, you still keep your forearms pronated, palms faced down and fingertips reaching away to the opposite directions. These actions of arm muscles keep your arms straight, tight, at the same time allow your heart to be lifted and deliver the energy up toward the top of your head.
Now, to complete Warrior 2 Pose, you can turn your head look at the fingertips of your front hand. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and continuously lift your sternum up toward chin, not chin down to chest. Eye gaze soft but determined, be graceful like a warrior in the arena ready for the honorable battle.
Model: Pin in Virabhadrasana 2