Warrior 2

I’ve heard Patricia Walden, one of Iyengar’s senior teachers, call standing poses friends for life. I believe warrior 2 or virabhdrasana to be one of those key standing postures that one will always return to in their practice.

This pose is difficult for beginners to get into completely. Having their bent leg at 90 degrees takes time and strength building in the core and legs. The further the legs are apart the more work done my muscles to hold the pose. If you find it difficult keep good foot posture but decrease the distance between the feet. Always keep the knee above the ankle, none of that moving it out in front.

The second most common problem I see for people in warrior 2 is they don’t open their hips. This was a revelation to me when I was first shown, I’d been almost completely unaware of my hip positioning in the pose previously. Both legs are opening out and stretching apart through the hips. Both legs are turning out so that there’s some focus on having the outer or pinky toes ground into the floor. Most people will sag through the hips and sag through the shoulders. As I often tell my students, “No one slouches into battle! Hips open, shoulders back and down, open the chest.”

As you gain strength increase the distance between the feet. Warrior 2 makes a good transition into triangle pose or trikonasana if the feet are closer together than I have in the video.

Mountain pose

Tadasana or mountain pose is the foundational standing pose in hatha yoga. The alignment in the posture influences all of the other standing postures so it’s important to work on your alignment to get a sense of how proper posture here influences other poses in your practice.

It may seem odd to teach people to stand correctly but that’s what we do. As you watch the video notice how even my posture changes in the pose. I have a small sway back and it’s interesting to see myself in video form leading you through the alignment. Feel the pose as you make shifts. Your body will tell you what feels right if you listen. As you move or adjust yourself further notice how one part of your body flows into another differently due to the changes you make.

In the pose always continue breathing calmly. Increase, follow and explore the breath. See where it takes you.