Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II Pose

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Type of pose: Standing

Benefits: Strengthen the legs and arms, opens the chest and shoulders, tones the abdomen.


  1. From downward facing dog, step your right foot to the inside of your right hand.
  2. Bend your right knee directly over your ankle so your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pivot on the ball of your left foot to bring your left heel to your mat. Your left foot should be at a 90-degree angle with the sole firmly planted. Your front heel is roughly lined up with your back arch.
  4. Keeping your foot placement as is, on an inhale, root down into your feet to lift the torso and arms up.
  5. Extend your arms out like the letter T as you rotate your torso to the left, inviting the hips to become parallel to the left side of your mat.
  6. With arms extended in opposite directions, let your palms face down. Keep both arms parallel to the floor. Release your shoulders away from your ears. Reach out through the fingertips of both hands.
  7. Turn your head to face the front of your mat. Your gaze is forward over the right hand.
  8. Both thighs are rotating outward.
  9. Engage your triceps to support your arms, your quadriceps to support your legs, and your belly to support your torso.
  10. After 5 to 10 breaths, windmill your hands down to either side of your right foot and step back to downward dog. Stay here for a few breaths or go through a vinyasa before repeating the pose with the left foot forward.

Beginner Tips

  • Keep a close eye on your right knee. It tends to want to drift toward the center. Work on keeping your shin perpendicular to the floor with the knee tracking over the middle toe of the right foot. 
  • Be sure you understand the difference in the alignment of your hips in warrior II versus warrior I. In warrior I, the hips point forward. In warrior II, the hips point to the side. Put your hands on your hips and feel for the bony part of your pelvis that sticks out. Make sure the hips are level and facing the side of your mat. 
  • Glance back at your rear arm to makes sure that it isn't sagging. Sometimes parts of the body we can't see have a life of their own. To make sure you support your arms, try this trick. Rotate your arms so that your palms are facing upward. Engage your triceps, then maintain that engagement as you turn your palms back down. Make sure that you didn't tense up your shoulders during this process.

Advanced Tips

  • Challenge yourself to hold the pose for ten breaths while keeping your front thigh parallel to the floor. Use your ujjayi breath as you stay with the pose.
  • Incorporate the warrior sequence into your flow.

By Ann Pizer, RYT
Ann Pizer is a writer and registered yoga instructor who teaches vinyasa/flow and prenatal yoga classes.