1.2

Recipe for a Happy Warrior II.

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: Catherine Monkman

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Diana Oct 6, 2013 7:41am

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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Brentan Schellenbach

Brentan Schellenbach is a yoga teacher, writer, adventurer and happiness enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Yoga In Your Living Room, an online platform that helps people develop a fulfilling home yoga practice and learn how to be happy in life, regardless of circumstance. Join her and her partner, Oli, for free Weekly Letters every Sunday, which feature happiness lessons learned from life on their San Diego hilltop, along with new free online yoga classes and blog posts on the nature of happiness. She also helps local yoga studios and teachers move their branding online to connect with a broader audience. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.