Recipe for a Happy Warrior II.

Via on Sep 3, 2013

john warrior 2

There are dozens of ways to enter and exit any of our poses.

It wasn’t until approximately two years ago that I started asking myself,

“Is this the best way to build this pose for me?”

And the answer I kept running into, over and over again, was: no.

I’m interested in building a yoga practice that straight up makes sense—a practice that makes me feel physically capable and free, and a practice that allows me to simply enjoy the experience that I’m having.

My intention is to enter every pose in a way that simply feels good. And when I feel good, everything about me is stronger.

One of my favorite project poses is Warrior II.

When I come into my Warrior II, I feel strong, open, soft and completely lightweight in my strength. But when I enter into it less than optimally, I feel crunchy, squishy, sharp, stiff and breakable.

This is what I love about Warrior II:

  • Develops strength and steadiness through the joints of the legs—ankles, knees and into the pelvis.
  • Engages the inner-thigh meridian to empower muscles close to the skeletal structure and take pressure out of outer hips and low back.
  • Opens the pelvic girdle and allows full hip expression in the front leg.
  • Encourages entire core engagement—from the front belly to the side waste, and wrapping around to the quadratus lumborum in the back spine.
  • Encourages softness through open shoulders.
  • Extension of the arms builds strength.
  • Archetype of the pose is set up in such a way that we make ourselves open and vulnerable to our opponent, yet we face away from them. There are huge implications there!
  • We are given the internal dynamic of figuring out how to engage where necessary and soften everywhere else. This is how we feel buoyancy in our poses.

When I enter into my Warrior II in a canonical, mindless way, I don’t feel these things. Often I’ll feel pinching in weird areas, weak in other areas and overall stressed out.

If this at all rings true for you, I’ve made a video that may help elucidate common pitfalls of entering into our Warrior II and how to build the most dynamic pose possible!

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Ed: Cat Beekmans

About Brentan Schellenbach

Brentan Schellenbach is a yoga and meditation teacher, writer and non-duality enthusiast. She is fascinated by how things work, and is constantly connected to the question, "Who am I?" She is from San Diego, Ca (with burritos and beaches), but currently lives in Chicago, Il (with city stickers and winters). She owns and operates a yoga studio named Fermata Yoga Center with her boyfriend, Oli (a character who shows up a lot in her writings). Connect with Brentan online at and When in Chicago, take class with her at


One Response to “Recipe for a Happy Warrior II.”

  1. Diana says:

    Thank you! This was fantastic. My back ankle always feels weak in Warrior II and now I think I understand why and can "fix" that.

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