Yoga Anatomy: Opening the Heart of the Warrior

The fundamental asana Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose) harnesses the archetypal spirit of the warrior. In fact, many martial arts also contain some variation of the Warrior Pose. Remember that the greatest warriors combine power with compassion that flows from the heart. 

Consciously expanding the chest stimulates the organs of the thorax, including the heart and lungs. This action illuminates the heart chakra—the energetic source of our emotions. In this post, we illustrate some simple steps for opening the chest in Virabhadrasana.

Rendering of trapezius muscles flexing to depress scapula

Rendering of the Rhomboid muscles engaging

Rendering of the pectoralis minor muscles engaging

Rendering of the abdominal muscles

Rendering of the pelvic floor muscles

Rendering of body performing warrior 2

Practice Tips:

If you are new to integrating anatomy into your practice, remember that it is not necessary to memorize this technique on your first pass. Begin by enjoying the beautiful images of the body in yoga. This alone will awaken your brain’s awareness of the anatomy during your practice.  

Return at a later date for a closer look, and then gently go through the motions illustrated above as you do this pose. Then leave it. Your unconscious mind will create new circuitry while you rest. Enjoy the process, and when you return to the mat, you will be surprised at how easily you access this technique.

Also, study Yoga for Pelvic Floor Health-Therapeutic Movement and Somatic Repatterning – A YogaUOnline Course with Donna Brooks.        Yoga for pelvic floor health, therapeutic movement, somatic repatterning

Reprinted with permission from Daily Bandha.

Illustrations by the Daily Bandha.

Author Ray Long MD, FRCSC is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga. Ray graduated from The University of Michigan Medical School with post-graduate training at Cornell University, McGill University, The University of Montreal and Florida Orthopedic Institute. He has studied hatha yoga for over twenty years, training extensively with B.K.S. Iyengar and other leading yoga masters.

Chris Macivor3d Graphic Designer / Illustrator Chris Macivor has been involved in the field of digital content creation for well over ten years. He is a graduate of Etobicoke School of the Arts, Sheridan College and Seneca College. Chris considers himself to be equally artistic and technical in nature. As such his work has spanned many genres from film and television to video games and underwater imagery.  


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