Yoga poses come in lots of varieties: standing, seated, kneeling, inverted, twists, lying. Perhaps the most common standing pose in yoga is Warrior 2. So, let’s look at how to do warrior 2 pose. Plus, common mistakes and how to fix them. Including, warrior 2 foot placement and more!
Sometimes, I think instead of reading, we need to see, feel and do. It’s what my mentors call somatic experiencing. We can only learn so much from listening, and watching. We need to embody and experience. So, check out the video below.
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How to do warrior 2 pose
Warrior 2 is a pose that can often become sloppy if not embracing the spirit of the pose. And the clue is in the name, WARRIOR. When you think of a warrior what words come to mind? Maybe it’s strong, steadfast, determined, or focused. Warrior 2 is about being in the present.
From standing longways in the middle of your mat, take the feet wide. Turn the right foot to the right, so that the toes point towards the short edge of your mat. Turn the left foot slightly towards the right foot. Bend the right knee, bringing the knee in line with the ankle. The chest remains facing the long edge of the mat with the shoulders above the pelvis. Sweep the arms to the short edge of the mat, bringing them parallel to the floor. Turn the head to the right and look over the right fingertips.
Warrior 2 alignment tips
So, above is the traditional set of alignment cues. It’s a one size fits all mentality. Remember above I said yoga is somatic? Stop thinking about the pose with your head. Rather than imagining how it looks, ask yourself “how does it feel?”. This tell us so much more about the pose in our own bodies.
Knee Pain In Warrior 2?
Typically, I approach poses from the ground up. But Of all the alignment cues in warrior 2, the bent knee is the most critical. The most common error in warrior 2 is allowing the front knee to collapse inwards. While it might not seem like a huge deal, it is. Why? When our knees are bent and weight bearing, they are at their least stable. Allowing the knee to roll inwards could lead to knee instability, pain and injury.
The knee NEEDS to remain directly over the ankle. Perhaps, pushing more towards the middle-little toe edge of the foot. This bent leg is in external rotation so the glutes and outer thigh on that leg need to be firing. And, they can’t do that if the knees is collapsing. Think about the front knee FIRST. Read on to find out tips to help.
Looking at the how to do warrior 2 the traditional way, the cue tells us the hips should be “square” to the long edge of the mat. However, I say let them be UN-square! Just be. This desire to be “square” in a body made of curvatures is crazy.
One thing I would caution against for the hips, is pushing the femur forward in the hip socket. This can cause stress on the labrum, the ‘bumper’ around the hip joint. Feeling front of the rear hip, there should be a soft crease in the back hip joint. We can also achieve this by allowing the back foot toes to turn towards the front front slightly.
Warrior 2 Foot Placement
Many people are taught that in warrior 2 foot placement, the front heel and the arch of the back foot should align. That’s a great cue, for some people. However, again this is a blanket statement. If, as explained above, the knee rolls in we may be more prudent to allow more lateral width between the foot. Allowing the back leg to move more towards the long edge of the mat.
One other tip regarding feet is similar to taking the feet wider, but taking the feet longer. In “traditional alignment” the thigh of the bent leg should be parallel to the floor. Personally, I prefer parallel-ish. Again, play with foot position. Experience the pose with the feet wider, and longer.
Shoulders & Torso
Sometimes, if you’re dealing with a shoulder injury, it can be painful to lengthen the arms out parallel to the floor. Instead, maybe place the hands on hips. Just like warrior 1, it’s acceptable to have different arm variations to the traditional alignment cues.
The biggest cue here is that the shoulders should be aligned over the pelvis. Instead of leaning forward. This will distribute the weight more evenly in the hips, and legs. Ensure that the front leg remains bent.
Head & Neck position
All cues on “how to do warrior 2” tell us that the gaze should be over the fingertips of the front arm. Unfortunately, many of us have neck and shoulder issues that make this uncomfortable.
Allow the head to be wherever feels comfortable. Your neck may be happier with the nose in line with the sternum. It’s still warrior 2! Don’t force the rotation of the neck.
Frankly, I could go on forever about the little tweaks to make this pose the embodiment of a warrior. If you found this tutorial useful, please consider sharing. Perhaps, sharing the video on social media, or pinning this post on Pinterest. If you have suggestions for tutorials on other poses, leave me a comment! For more in-depth tutorials, workshops and classes join in on Patreon for exclusive content
- What is your biggest a-ha moment about this pose?
- Are there any other poses you’d like me to do a tutorial for?
- How do you embody the spirit of a Warrior in this pose?
I am trying to master that pose, I am almost there.
Awesome! Did any of the tips help?
These poses are really great! Thank you so much for sharing them!
You are so welcome!
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
Thank you for these tips on how to do the Warrior 2 pose properly. I tried that once but I guess I was doing it wrong. Now I know how to do it. Thanks a lot!
Great to hear it helped!
I haven’t tried yoga yet… I’ll try this pose. Can you post some do’s and don’ts of plank??
Sure putting it on my list!
Awesome guide! this is one of my fave yoga poses. It always makes me feel powerful!
It should make you feel powerful, you’re getting ready for battle!
very useful information. Warrior 2 is my favorite pose, I do it daily (numerous times)
That’s great! I admit I prefer warrior 1 myself. lol
This is super helpful, every time I do Warrior 2 I feel like I’m doing something wrong.
Awesome, what tip did you find most useful?
I’m not really surprised by the way you do what you do with so much ease. I mean 20years experience is no joke.
I did my first yoga class at 13, but I’ve never been consistent with my practice until 10 years ago.
I have never practiced yoga before. But reading your post seems very interesting to me. I will have to try some of the above movements.
Awesome, please do!