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Yoga How To's: Warrior 2 Pose with Melissa

In this how-to for yoga, Melissa reviews the foundations of Warrior 2. This class provides instructions for Warrior 2 pose using the help of a wall to get the most out of your yoga practice.

This is a preview of our Yoga Basics: Yoga for Beginners online course.

(0:07)All right so for this how-to you’ll notice I’m set up a little bit differently. I am near a wall and the reason we’re doing this is that it really helps you get a feel for being in Warrior 2 and really any of the postures where our feet are out wide.  We’re going for that what we call external rotation of the legs so let’s go ahead and get started!

(0:30)Setting up at your wall. Starting in Mountain pose as best as you can. Using the wall as support try to get your backside against the wall and tuck the tail bone.  Bring the shoulders back and back of the head towards the wall. This might be a little challenging because your feet or behind might get in the way but just do your best!

(1:06)Now let’s take our arms out wide palms facing down and try to take your feet as wide as the wrists.  One way you can check on that is to point your fingertips down and see if your feet get about that wide. Remembering just to do what you can if you can’t get your feet out this wide don’t worry about it! Just kind of get it as wide as possible to where you still feel balanced and supported like Mountain Pose.

(1:41)We want our feet to have all four corners of the feet pressing down and let’s rotate the right toes towards the right-hand side of your mat. What we’re aiming for is a bend in the right knee and getting as close to 90 degrees as you can. You might not be able to……. most people aren’t going to. It’s simply something that we’re working towards.

(2:10)While keeping the feet out wide notice your posture. If you notice that your shoulders are beginning to go forward we want them stacked right on top of the hips. Now watch that left glute…… you may have noticed once we bent into this knee the glute came off the wall. That’s normal! But why we’re using the wall is for that external rotation. So try to press that left glute back.

(2:39) What’s funny is the right knee starts to go forward so we’re trying to get that external rotation. You can even place your hands on the insides of the legs and press back to feel that rotation.  What we’re aiming for is to get the outside of the right leg as close as we can towards the wall by rotating the thigh out but at the same time keeping the glutes pressed in the wall.

(3:05)Bring the arms up to shoulder level. It may feel totally impossible, don’t worry about it! It’s just something that we’re working towards. If warrior two ever feels easy– practice against the wall and try to line up the hips while keeping the glutes pressed into the wall…. while trying to stack this knee right above the ankle.

(3:32)Another thing to notice is your back foot (on the straight leg).  If you notice there’s any white….. it means you’re placing more weight on the inside of the foot than the outside. So try to press all four corners of the feet into or the foot into the mat. That will help keep everything stacked and again rotating the legs.

(3:51)Just like Mountain Pose, we’re pressing down but at the same time we’re engaging the legs. Lift up through the top of the head, navel into spine, tailbone tucked doing your best to keep your glutes on the wall while tracking the front knee over the second big toe.

Take your gaze over the right hand.

(4:18)You should feel this in the legs because we’re activating the legs we’re engaging them…. lifting ourselves up you’ll feel an opening in the hips. You might even feel it in the arms, keeping the arms up can really help strengthen your body while at the same time increasing flexibility.

(4:37)So let’s try that on the opposite side but this time we’re going to add the reverse Warrior into it.

(4:44)Let’s take the arms out wide. On this side,  do a little shorter stance. Even if you’re doing a shorter stance,  it should still feel like you’re stretching out the hips.  You’re working the legs…… and if you don’t feel that take the feet out wider.

(5:06)Let’s go ahead and rotate the left toes towards the left-hand side of the mat. Bend into the knee. One thing to watch out for is to make sure you’re not over-extending.  Overextending is when the knee is farther forward than the toes.  Instead, keep it stacked above the ankle. If you still find yourself overextending take a wider stance or just bring the knee back.

(5:33)Arms come up to shoulder level. Making sure the shoulders are right above the hips– not going one way or another.

(5:44)Try to keep your glutes pressed into the wall watching the knee. At the same time, try to open up the hip externally rotating by rotating the thigh and keeping the glutes on the wall.

(5:56)Gazing over the left hand. The back leg is straight and the weight is evenly distributed on the outside and inside of the foot.

(6:08)When we reverse the warrior a common mistake that kind of happens is people reach back and then all of a sudden this front leg straightens out. Keep the knee bent with t the external rotation as best as you can. The back of the head, shoulders, and glutes stay on the wall. We’re just hinging in the side body so the lower body stays the same we’re just moving the upper body hinging in the side body right here near the obliques.

(6:59) That’s Warrior 2! I look forward to seeing you in the next how-to!

About the Instructor


MBA, E-RYT® 500, YACEP®, MBSR Level 2 Instructor

Melissa Leger is an MBSR and yoga instructor who works with veterans, the medical community, and government agencies to help decrease stress and incorporate healthier lifestyle habits. As a female veteran, recovering corporate professional, and business owner, she has experienced stress and the challenges it creates in overall health and interpersonal relationships. Through a practical and straightforward approach, Melissa facilitates wellness programs that focus on living fully in the present moment through meditation and mindful movement. She is the founder of Kindpact and teaches with partner organizations and online.

Melissa Leger Founder of Kindpact
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