Why Warrior II isn’t just for beginners

3 min read

If you’re new to yoga or have been practicing for 20 years, chances are you’re pretty familiar with the Warrior II pose. This is one of the fundamental poses introduced to us in our first yoga class, but one that will be a constant companion to our yoga practice.

Everyday is Different

Since I started practicing yoga seven years ago, my Warrior II has changed every day. When my hips are relaxed, I experience a great sense of freedom. Some days, my arms are weak, and I am unable to hold them straight. To avoid my knee collapsing, I have to constantly remind myself to keep my bent leg towards my pinky. I gently challenge my hips to open to the side of the mat rather than to the front. I gently coax my shoulders down my back despite the tension I usually hold. Even if you play Warrior II daily, there is always room to improve. You can challenge yourself to go deeper in your physical exercise, keep your breathing calm, or focus your mind.

Why Warrior II?

This pose is a very popular one. This pose works all the major muscles by incorporating the arms, legs, core, and everything in between. It allows us to release physically and emotionally by opening the hips. While our legs or arms are shaking, we must remain focused and strong. It challenges our balance and often tests our patience. You may be in this position for as long as two minutes, depending on the class. Warrior II is a pose that becomes familiar and perhaps too familiar during our practice. It is important to become familiar with this pose. The ability to overcome its challenges will help you to bring that strong presence to other poses.


Warrior II is a long stance with one foot on top of the mat and the other at the back. The toes of the front foot should be pointing straight ahead. The toes of the back foot are at a 90-degree angle and pointing to the long end. The arch of the rear foot should match the heel of the front. The hips must be opened towards the long end. The front leg should be bent 90 degrees and move towards the pinky. Shoulders should be relaxed, and arms should be pointing in opposite directions. The gaze should be over the fingers. Engaging the back quad will protect your back knee. You can also engage your core by tucking in the bottom ribs and tailbone.

This pose is more complex than it appears. In yoga class, the teacher has adjusted my footing many times, raised my back arm, or turned my torso. Yoga is not about perfection, but finding the right poses that are anatomically correct will allow us to gain strength, flexibility, and endurance safely.

The next step after Warrior II.

As we get comfortable with Warrior II, it will become a nice middle ground between other poses. From this pose, we can move to the side angle, reverse warriors, triangle, half-moon, and different advanced poses.

It’s easy to get too comfortable or even lazy when we only think of a pose as a transition or pause. This can lead to us denying ourselves the many benefits of this pose and creating unsafe movement patterns for our muscles and joints. A solid Warrior II pose is an excellent way to protect yourself and build strength for other poses.

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