102
THE ASANAS
Standing
This strong standing pose is grounding, energizing,
and stabilizing. Holding Warrior II for a period of time
works on your balance and muscular strength, and
provides a great opportunity to observe how your
mind reacts during a heated challenge.
THE BIG PICTURE
This pose engages large muscles around
your thighs and core. Your arms are
reaching in both directions, creating
space in the joints, without stiening or
locking your elbows or fingers.
WARRIOR II
Virabhadrasana II
ALIGNMENT
Your front knee is
over or just behind your
ankle, distributing the load
on your joint evenly. Your front
hip rotates outward while your
back rotates inward.
Arms
Your shoulders are abducted
by your middle deltoid and
supraspinatus. While all the
deltoid heads engage to
stabilize your shoulders in place,
your anterior deltoid helps your
latissimus dorsi to internally
rotate the joints. Your elbows are
extended by your triceps and
your forearms are turned palm
face down by your pronators.
Your pectorals stabilize while
in a lengthened position on
both sides.
Knee directly
over the ankle
Hip rotating
outward
Press into
outer foot
Hip rotating
inward
Elbows soft,
not locked
Serratus anterior
Pectoralis minor
Rotator cu muscles
Deltoids
Biceps brachii
Elbow
Pronator quadratus
Brachioradialis
Wrist
KEY
Joints
Muscles
Engaging
Engaging while
stretching
Stretching
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103
Front leg
Your front hip exors and hip
external rotators actively work to
stabilize your hip. Your gluteus maximus
is stretching while engaging to hold the
pose. Your hamstrings ex and stabilize
your knee, while your quadriceps engage
in a lengthening position to stabilize. Your
calf muscles and tibialis anterior
engage to stabilize your ankle.
Extended leg
Your hip extensors engage
while the quadriceps extend
your knee. Your hip exors
stretch while stabilizing your hip.
The bularis muscles lengthen
while actively pressing the outer
edge of your foot down. Your
calf muscles and tibialis
anterior stabilize your ankle.
Torso
Your spinal extensors and
transversus abdominis
elongate and stabilize your
spine. Your rhomboids and
middle and lower trapezius
retract your scapulae.
Neck
To turn your neck, your rotatores,
multidus, sternocleidomastoid, and
semispinalis cervicis engage on the side
you are turning away from (contralateral,
this model’s left) while stretching on the
opposite side (ipsilateral, this model’s right).
Sternocleidomastoid
Splenius muscles
Spine
Spinal extensors
Rectus abdominis
Transversus abdominis
Knee
Gastrocnemius
Tensor fasciae latae
Hip external rotators
Adductor magnus
Rectus femoris
Semitendinosus
Vastus medialis
Sartorius
Tibialis anterior
Soleus
Ankle
Iliopsoas
Hip
Adductor magnus
Tensor fasciae latae
Sartorius
Vastus medialis
Rectus femoris
Vastus lateralis
Knee
Fibularis longus
Tibialis anterior
Gastrocnemius
Soleus
Fibularis brevis
Fibularis tertius
Ankle
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WARRIOR II Virabhadrasana II THE ASANAS Standing
CLOSER LOOK
Proper alignment in Warrior II can prevent damage to joint
structures, especially in your knees. This is vital because the
knee is one of the most mechanically complex joints in the body.
Knee over ankle
This pose is traditionally
done with the knee stacked
over the ankle. Allowing
your knee to move forward
past your ankle increases
the load on joint structures
such as your ACL. If you
have any increased knee
pain, an ACL injury, or
knee arthritis, avoid moving
your knee past your ankle.
Pressure and balance
Try bringing your front heel in line with
the center of the arch of your back foot.
Distribute weight evenly between feet.
Turn back
foot inward
Bent knee
aligned
with ankle
Hands reach in
both directions
Deep to the pectoralis
major, the pectoralis
minor also engages
Biceps stretch
Soft gaze over your
middle finger
Front foot
points forward
Neck muscles
dynamically stretch
and engage
Flexing
knee past 90
degrees can
put strain
on the ACL
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105
Press into the
center of the back
heel to avoid
falling into arch
Front toes are
spread and
relaxed
Tibialis anterior
engages slightly
Notice your pelvic
floor engaging
and releasing
with your breath
Sartorius is
stretching on
this side
Quadriceps
tendon
Medial collateral
ligament (MCL)
Keep knee
aligned with
kneecap toward
second toe
Lateral collateral
ligament (LCL)
Knee ligaments
The knee is technically a “modied hinge joint.
Hinge joints can ex and extend, which is like
the open and close action from a door hinge.
Modied hinge joints also allow rotation—when
in exion, ligaments have less tension, allowing
some rotational movement. However, rotation
can leave the structure around the knee
vulnerable to injury, so alignment is key.
Knee alignment
A common misalignment
is allowing the knee to drop
inward past the big toe, which
puts uneven pressure on the
joint
structures, including the MCL
and
meniscus, while losing the arch
and stability in the foot. Keep
your kneecap facing toward
your second toe. This stabilizes
around the knee, preventing
wear and tear.
Anterior cruciate
ligament (ACL)
Posterior cruciate
ligament (PCL)
Meniscus
Adductors engage
to stabilize but
may stretch for
some people
Knee is soft,
not locked
ANTERIOR–LATERAL VIEW
This maintains
an even load on
joint structures
Meniscus
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