Warrior Two is probably my favorite pose. I love that it utilizes a strong core, strong quads, and a stable stance to create a pose that looks simple while being anything but. Because Warrior Two is a staple in most yoga classes, it’s easy to become complacent in the pose. Here a few ways I try to keep the pose engaging and fresh.
1. Scoot the front foot forward.
You might know that in Warrior Two, you want your front knee over your front ankle, and your stance wide. Over time, though, you gain strength and flexibility, but you may still be positioning your feet in the same manner you always do. In your next Warrior Two, try lengthening your stance by scooting your front foot forward two to five inches. This will allow you to further strengthen your quads, to sink your hips deeper, and to get a deeper stretch in your back hip flexor. You’ll still keep your front knee stacked over the ankle, but the wider stance will help you engage your muscles in a new way.
2. Level the hips.
Many of us tend to tip the front hip downward in Warrior Two. Instead, level the hips so the front and back hip bones are in a straight line, parallel with the floor. To achieve this, bring your hands to your hips and point your front hip bone forward. If your hands are not in line with each another, angle the back hip downward slightly.
3. Open the hips.
I really used to think Warrior Two was all about the quadricep muscles in the lunging leg. In the last year or so, however, I’ve been exploring the hip opening aspect of the pose.
Try using the inner thigh muscles of the lunging leg to open the thigh. At the same time, use the muscles around your back hip to press the hip toward the wall behind you. Essentially, the front hip bone is pressing toward your center line, while the back hip bone is pressing in the opposite direction. It’s a very subtle movement that has helped me find hip opening in this leg-strengthening pose.
4. Hug in your low belly, lower your shoulders away from your ears,and engage your triceps.
This trio of muscle engagement will help ensure you are active in your upper body as well as your lower body. If you begin to feel fatigued, bring your hands to your hips, keeping your shoulders stacked over your hips. When you regain energy, raise your arms again to shoulder height and re-enage your tricep muscles.
Give these tips a try the next time you find yourself in Warrior Two. Hopefully, they’ll help you experience the pose anew!