Virabhadrasana 2/Warrior 2 The perfect follow-up to the heat-building Sun Salutes are standing poses that promote strength and balance. Once of my all-time favorites is Virabhadrasana 2/Warrior 2. Why? It’s a hip opener and, as all of you with tight hips will attest, you can never do too much hip opening. But most importantly, it just makes me feel like an all-around badass – “Virabhadra” is the name of a fierce warrior, after all!

Virabhadrasana 2/Warrior 2

1. From Tadasana, turn to face the long side of your mat and jump or step your feet wide apart – approximately wrist-width distance, which means that your ankles are underneath your wrists when your arms are fully extended to the sides. Feet should be parallel to start with both legs straight.

2. Turn your R foot out to the side, so that your R foot heel is lined up with the arch of your L foot.

3. Exhale and bend your R knee to 90 degrees, so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Check to make sure that your knee does not go beyond your ankle. If it does, your stance is too narrow and you’ll need to widen it slightly to ensure that the knee is stacked over the heel. Press down firmly with the outer edge of your L foot.

4. Now take your hands to your hips for a moment and check to make sure that they are level from side to side and that your torso is stacked directly over top of them. The tendency is for the torso to lean toward that R thigh, which causes the R hip to dip lower than the L hip. If that is happening to you, simply pull your torso back so that shoulders are stacked over the hips and lift the R hip slightly so that the two hips are aligned. Extend your tailbone toward the floor.

5. On your next Inhale, lift your arms to shoulder height and extend them in opposite directions, so that they are parallel with the floor and strong. Broaden across your collar bones and turn your gaze toward your R thumb. Breathe.

6. Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute – whatever is comfortable for you.

7. When you are ready to come out of the pose. Extend the R knee and return the R foot toward the front of the room, so that both feet are parallel.

8. Repeat Steps 1-7 on the L side.

For more information on Warrior 2, including its history and health benefits, check out this article: