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!
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Ed: Catherine Monkman