Warrior II

 

Warrior II

Warrior Series: Warrior II

How?

From Warrior I, keep your heels in alignment and your front knee bent. Turn your hips and shoulders to face the long edge of mat. Your  bent knee should be tracking back toward your little toe. Remember to keep the front knee directly over or behind the ankle. Never let the knee drift past the ankle. Bring your arms parallel to the floor and reach out in opposite directions with your fingertips. Relax your shoulders down, and align your ribs directly over your hips. Lift up through your upper body as you sink down into your hips.

To decrease the intensity, slightly straighten the forward leg or shorten your stance. If you typically have shoulder discomfort, you can try bringing your hands in to a prayer position instead of keeping them parallel to the floor. No pose should ever feel painful – if it does, stop.

For getting into Warrior II from Mountain pose check out this article.

Why?

Warrior II is typically used in a sequence of poses. It can also be used by itself to strengthen the vastus medialis (inner quad muscle) of the forward leg. According to wiki, this pose:

  • Tones the leg muscles.
  • Increases flexibility of the back and legs.
  • Contracts the abdominal organs.
  • Prepares practitioner to do the advanced forward bends.

Conclusion

This pose is great because it builds power in the major leg muscles (quads) while also strengthening the stabilizer muscles for balance. If you keep your arms out, it also tones the arms and shoulders.

Be a warrior, not a worrier!

Karma?

Karma?

Did you do the 28 Day challenge I shared on Facebook? (Thank you Barbie Locke)

Honestly, I had NO intentions of actually doing the challenge. I thought it was a great concept and hit the share button. I received tons of positive responses. The response that shocked me the most was from…my mother?!

I could not let my mother do this without giving it an honest effort myself so I started the challenge as well. I guess this is the definition of karma – I put out a challenge and got to struggle through it, too.

As a yoga instructor I knew that I could hold a minute plank with little struggle. I have held 2 minute planks before. 4 minutes proved to be too much for me in the time I gave myself to get there. However, I did hold a 3 minute and 30 second plank and learned some things about myself and my Mom in the process.

Before I go further, this challenge was about inner strength and determination. Whether or not you made it to the 4 minute mark is less important, but I hope you did! What I told myself and my mom is that every minute, every 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 10 seconds, 1 second counts. I found that I was stronger from the inside out. I am proud of both of us for taking up the challenge. My mother is currently at 1:30 and counting. She intends to keep going until she hits it. This is amazing considering she started from couch potato!

STRUGGLES
I had a hard time sticking to the calendar. I know how important a workout plan is to make sure there is a balance of hard work, which  generates those leaps in progress, and rest to allow the body to absorb that new fitness without breaking.

I also know how important consistency is when trying to hit a goal. The argument is that the challenge only takes 4 minutes out of your day. For me, that is four extra minutes that I don’t always have. I am a mother of 3 young children. I am also a yoga instructor. Between my personal workout plan and my children, I found myself just exhausted from my life. I did not have the extra energy to do another plank. So it wasn’t always the time that was the limiting factor. Many times it was the lack of energy.

Complicating things even more, my 3 year old loves to jump on me anytime I’m on the ground. Moms make the best playgrounds ever, apparently. Another hindrance is that I didn’t do 28 days. Because I had no intention of doing this until my mom was on board, I started around day 10. I know I can keep the challenge going like my mother, but I am finding at this stage in my life I have very little self control or determination for extra challenges.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

I HELD A 3 MINUTE AND 30 SECOND PLANK! Yes, I am happy with that. Within 5 minutes of holding that 3:30 plank, I held another 2 minute plank.  Through this journey I became more aware of my body and of my personal goals. Also, my mother and I would text each other every day for support and encouragement. As a grown woman, it is pretty amazing to see my relationship with my mother turn into a friendship.

On that note, as unmotivated as I am to go four minutes, it’s great to have a partner to encourage you to meet the goal. My longest plank was when James and I both went for the 4 minute mark on the last day. I was only able to last 3:30 because he kept telling me I could do it (and because he kept doing it). He started at 2:30 and made 4:00 on the third attempt. He says this was mostly because when we hit 3:30 together, he didn’t want to have to hold a plank that long ever again. Even though he accomplished this in a ridiculously short amount of time, he had his own struggles. He broke down on the second attempt after about 2:00 from the pure mental fatigue of 3 kids screaming at our door just before bedtime.

Please share your accomplishments, goals, struggles etc. I’d love to hear from you.

Pic of Mom’s plank