Sunday, May 01, 2005

Transform Your Surfer Into a Warrior

When you practice warrior 2 pose (virabhadrasana 2), you've got to take your feet wide apart to get started. If you don't separate your feet well before you move into the pose, just can't do the pose. Try it, you'll see.

Anusara teacher, Doug Keller, in virabhadrasana 2. Doesn't he look like a warrior? Imagine a sword in his right hand..See Doug's books and teaching schedule at by Hello

When you take your feed wide apart, no surprise, you're tipsy and the threat of falling over can be scary. The intense stretch on the insides of your thighs adds to the fright.

So what happens? You crouch and lean forward. Just like a surfur. It's one of the most common 'variations' on virabhadrasana 2 I see in yoga classes.

crouching surfer; lowering your center of gravity makes balance easier Posted by Hello

It really makes great sense, actually. You crouch because crouching lowers your center of gravity. You're closer to the floor. If you fall, it's not far. Lowering your center of gravity gives you more control.

But you've got to lower yourself from the starting position to come into the pose anyway, so why not just do that?

I think it's because of the tremendous stretch to the adductors you experience when you take your legs wide apart. When you stick your rear end out in back and lean your torso forward, your knees come closer together and, voila, the intensity of the stretch is diminished. Usually, you do this without even noticing it. Just as quickly, you've turned your warrior into a surfer.

adductors on the insides of your thighs are stretched when you take your feet wide apart Posted by Hello

What should you do?
1) Practice lots of standing poses. Hint: you'll get better at warrior 2 pose if you do warrior 2 pose a lot. Standing poses are forgiving. Your hips and legs will open and get stronger with little risk of something going wrong.
2) Get a chair and place it in front of you. (Put a sticky mat under it if needed. You don't want it to slide away just when you need it.) Think of it like the barre a ballerina uses. As you come down into the pose, hang on lightly for stability. The more steady you feel, the less defensive guarding you'll do with your muscles. You can relax a bit.

ballet at the barre Posted by Hello

3) Do the pose with your back against a wall. Leaning against the wall, once again, takes fear of falling out of the equation. You can approach the pose with more ease. The wall behind you also gives you the 'feel' of being flat. If your rear sticks out in back and your torso is leaning forward, you're not narrow, when viewed from the side.

some walls are even better suited for warrior 2 pose Posted by Hello

4) Tuck your tailbone. Reaching the tip of your tailbone towards your pubic bone helps keep your pelvis upriight. Then your torso can be veritcal, too.

Before I go, let me just address one more thing. What's wrong with crouching and leaning forward? Nothing. It's just better to do it in other poses. Take a look at utkatasana.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., We practiced warrior 2 pose in my alleyCat yoga class yesterday morning at 10 am. And we learned to apply the five principles of Anusara yoga while we did it. The first is "open to grace." Send me an email if you want to know more:

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by Mo Yoga LLC.


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