Welcome to a Yoga Focus on Warrior 2. In this blog post you will find some tips for this posture. Warrior 2 can be a bit tricky for some folks, particularly in the hip area. One thing that can really help is getting to know your own personal biomechanical structure. It’s beneficial to look at the way our hips have developed over our lifetime because it allows you to start to see YOUR Warrior 2. Let’s make this pose work for your unique body, rather than have your unique body try to move into a shape that you have some pre-conceived idea of.
Where will I often encounter Warrior 2?
You are likely to encounter this Pokémon while wandering in tall grass, it is weak to…. wait… wrong blog post…😏 — You are likely to encounter this POSE alongside lots of Vinyasa Flow Yoga classes, Hatha Yoga classes, and even Chair Yoga classes. Warrior 2 (see image above) is often prefaced by Warrior 1 and followed by Bent Leg Triangle (see the image below) since these poses transition quite easily into one another.
Use That Front Legs Hammy!
In Warrior 2 or Bent Leg Triangle we can find great benefit in pressing down and pulling slightly back using our front leg. This is going to activate the hamstring muscle, helping to strengthen your mental connection to that area but also the muscle itself.
Now Get your Back Leg involved!
Because we want to evenly distribute our efforts in this posture, we also are going to want to engage our back leg in a more dynamic way. One way of doing this is to try pressing down with your back legs heel while simultaneously pulling slightly forwards with the front pad/toes of that same foot. It almost feels like corkscrewing the back foot/leg into the ground.
Try It Right Now!
Stand at the top of your yoga mat. Mountain Pose.
Step backwith yourright foot, then allow that foot to wiggle back a bit further to elongate your stance.
Lunge into the left leg until your knee is roughly overtop of your left heel. If this isn’t possible, allow some variance in your lunging depth!
Reach your arms apart, the right one reaches back and the left one reaches forward.
Now try some variation in the positioning of your back foot. Try turning the toes slightly forward instead of pointing them sideways. Try allowing your right hip to move a bit more forward as well. (this will end up looking similar to the individual pictured on the top most image on the left) Does this allow for more controlled opening in your hips? does it create less tension in your front knee? These might be amazing changes for your Warrior 2!
When you’ve arrived at your most natural expression of this posture, stay in it for 10 breaths.
We will move on to Bent Leg Triangle next.
While staying in the same leg and hip position, move your left arm down so that your forearm connects to your left inner thigh. (2nd image in the article). As you do this lean your torso slightly forward to match the angle of your back leg.
Press your inner thigh into the back of your forearm to create some core/groin activation.
Breathe here for 10 cycles of breath.
Move back into Warrior 2 with your upper body.
Lower your hands onto your hips.
Heel/toe your right foot closer to the front of your yoga mat.
Step forwards into a standing position. Mountain Pose.
MORE FROM MATTHEW CARTER
Thanks for tuning in for this Yoga Focus on Warrior 2, hopefully you find it helpful during your future classes. If you would like to know more about Matthew Carter’s yoga offerings visit the links below:
Welcome to a Yoga Focus on Upward Facing Dog. This is a fairly challenging pose that is often contained in our Vinyasa Flow or “power yoga” classes. Ohhhhh yoga class names, they crack me up sometimes! The main focus of this article is to help people discover a more stable Upward Facing Dog. This is because we all deserve to understand more about our bodies!
Where will I often find Upward dog?
Upward Facing Dog often comes after we move from a High Plank position to a Low Plank position, which is similar to the lowering down portion of a push-up. After arriving in this low push up position we need to flip our feet over so that we are now on the tops of our feet, then press down into the ground and lift our upper body all the way up, similar to the position you see in the photograph above.
Use those shoulder muscles (gooooo seratus anterior!)
When we lift up like this we want to really press those hands down and lift up out of the shoulder area. A lot of the time, individuals do not really lift up and out of their shoulders, which can create a lot of compression in that area of the body. Because of this compression some people may find this pose uncomfortable on their shoulders.
Next time you try Upward Facing Dog try deeply connecting to the ground with each finger and thumb, corkscrewing the hands down into the ground almost as if you were opening and closing jars with your hands.
Try it right now!
Move your body into Downward Facing Dog. Do this by starting in a high plank (high pushup) position, then lift your hips up into the air.
Press down with your palms. Lengthen through the mid upper spine into the shoulders. Allow your knees to bend if you feel like your lower back is rounding a lot.
Now as you Inhale move forwards into high plank again. Have your heels roughly above your toes, and your shoulders roughly above your palms. This is usually a great starting position for moving down into low plank.
As you Exhale lower your body down into low plank position by bending your elbows. As you do this press back slightly with your heels, as if pressing into a small button. This will help keep strength in your lower body, and help to engage the leg/core connection. This really helps folks who feel that this movement is too challenging on their upper body.
After arriving in low plank flip each foot one at a time so that you’re now on the shoelace side edge of your feet, the tops. You will be here on the tops of your feet in low plank for only a second.
Now PRESS UP with your arms and upper body so that you lift all the way out of your shoulders. Try not to allow the shoulder blades (scapula) compress upward to the ears/neck. Instead press down so that you can feel your shoulder blades slide down the back of your body and slightly together. Your chest will be lifted, and your gaze can go forwards or up to the ceiling. Corkscrew your hands down into the ground.
Now begin to lift your hips back up towards the ceiling, flipping your feet back over one at a time, so that you’re now on the front pads of your feet. Your should now be back in Downward Facing Dog, where we started.
More from Matthew Carter
Thanks for tuning in for this Yoga Focus on Upward Facing Dog, hopefully you find it helpful during your future sessions. If you would like to know more about Matthew Carter’s yoga offerings visit the links below: