April 11, 2014

Visual Yoga Blog: Warrior 2.1


One of the first things I noticed when I started taking fencing lessons many years ago was the similarity between Warrior 2 and one of those lunges you’d do in fencing to score a point.

Maybe there is no relationship between seventeenth century sword fighting and a peaceful yoga pose. Or maybe there is. After all, the pose is still called warrior, and both Warrior 2 and the deep lunge and thrusting of your epee carry a similar psychological connotation: “I am strong and direct my will and my energy here!”

Okay, now forget about fencing and think Warrior 2. Actually, to open up your rib cage and hip a little more than Warrior 2, grab a strap or belt and try Warrior 2.1:




1. This is the conventional Warrior 2 that we know and love, right?








2. Grab a strap and lift the arms overhead.








3. Walk your hands closer on the strap till they’re at the width of your shoulders.














4. Now pull the front arm back as pictured. The front elbow is bent and the rib cage beneath it expands on that side. Take five slow breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Benefits: A nice shoulder- and rib-cage opening position that builds upon a familiar pose.

Avoid if: Your ankles or shoulders hurt while in this position. Also, if you’re not familiar with warrior 2, please familiarize yourself with it first: it’ll make more sense that way.

Final thoughts: Despite being able to use your sword in lieu of a strap (since it was already in your hand), if you were a 17th century swashbuckling pirate and actually practiced yoga, you’d find Warrior 2.1 deficient in your swashbuckling exploits. Chances are your opponent would see that nice, open flank and get in there quicker than you could smack him upside the head with your epee. Luckily, it’s not the 17th century and swashbuckling pirates live only in little kids’ fantasies. And luckily those little kids will grow up to practice yoga like mom and dad… just with a lot of variations like, uh… Warrior 2.1.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Images: courtesy of the author

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