"The Warrior Poses are excellent for the overall vitality and strengthening of the body. They aid in building stamina and make your body strong as a warrior, thus the name," says Seema Sondhi, a Delhi-based yoga practitioner and trainer.
The second pose in the series of three, Virabhadrasana II gives a nice stretch to your legs, shoulders, ankles and groins. "This is a great pose for balancing and stability. As you lock your knees, you lessen the blood flow toward the lower part of your body and increase it toward your upper body. This benefits the intestines, liver, stomach and abdomen," says Yogi Anoop, Chaitanya Foundation.
The pose stretches your inner thighs and works on the hamstrings; it is therefore beneficial for the urinary tract. Your hips get a nice stretch. Chest and lungs are opened wide and the blood flow improves as well. "In case you suffer from back pain, the warrior pose can be a great remedy," notes Yogi Anoop. "If you hold the pose for at least 10-20 breaths, it aids in strengthening the legs. As you breathe deep, your focus increases," shares Ms. Sondhi.
Anju Kalhan, yoga expert with Vivafit fitness centre, Delhi, explains how the pose helps in expanding the chest and relieves stiff shoulders and back. "It tones up the ankles and knees. As you stretch your hips while getting into the pose, the asana aids in shedding fat around the hip area."
"The Warrior Pose II is one of the powerful standing asanas, through this pose the cramps in the calf muscles are relieved. It also tones up the abdominal organs," says Ms. Kalhan.
How to Get into the Pose
1. Stand straight with your legs hip-distance apart and arms on your sides.
2. Now, spread your legs wide-apart.
3. Turn your right feet out to face the right side of the mat.
4. The other feet will turn inward to make a 45 degree angle.
5. Do not twist your body; keep it in the center, facing the front.
6. Go forward on your right knee making a 90 degree angle; make sure your knee doesn't cross over the toe. Turn your neck right, look right.
7. Let the other leg stretch properly.
8. Bring your arms parallel to the floor, stretched wide apart.
9. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Things to Keep in Mind
"While going into the asana ensure that the body weight is distributed evenly on both the legs. The back leg should be stretched straight without bending the knee and the front knee should be bent at right angle. The hips should be in one line and pelvic squarely in front," shares Anju Kalhan.
"Your palms should face downwards and not upwards. Your torso should stay in center and not move along with your knee," says Seema Sondhi.
Some other points to keep in mind would include the following -
- Beginners should practice it under supervision and should not go deeper into the pose till the flexibility is achieved and the pelvic area opens up.
- People with knee problem should avoid holding the pose for long.
- All standing poses strain the heart and should not be held for long by people with weak heart or by those who have undergone a heart surgery recently.
- Holding a pose for 20 sec to half a minute with normal breathing should be fine. This can be taken up to 2 minutes.
- Beginners should hold the pose for 5 seconds each side and repeat thrice.
- Those who have heart issues, anaemia or breathing problems should attempt it under supervision.
"Never forget relaxing and cooling down after the Warrior poses. Do breathing exercises like anulom vilom or left nostril breathing," concluded Yogi Anoop.