As yoga teachers, we often hear students ask questions about “proper form” in poses. So, we are used to seeing the visible frustration on a student’s face when the answer is that it all depends… There is no one right way to do any particular pose. Mimicking a particular shape with the body perfectly can be a meaningless endeavor, unless you are looking for compliments concerning your shape-making abilities. When you start to take into account your intention behind the shape and your body type, you may realize that your pose looks nothing like the cookie-cutter image from Yoga Journal. Having the awareness to know whether or not you are working towards your goal is essential in a yoga practice!
That being said, here are 3 quick ways to adjust your Warrior II to give you a firmer butt! Aside from having a great back-side, activating your posterior chain in this pose will also give you the strength and stability your leg needs to do fancy transitions, like from Warrior 2 to Half Moon.
It’s all about the glutes! There are so many ways to get away with doing this pose without ever really using your ass! If you are not feeling this pose working your posterior, then you may want to follow these tips:
Tip # 1: Make sure the heel of the front foot is carrying the same amount of weight (or more) than the front of the foot.
Doing this properly, you should FEEL work in the back of your leg (hamstrings and glute). Don’t feel it? Dig your heel down.
Loading the front of the foot (below) leads to a quad dominant pattern. Most of the weight is in the front of my foot, which is kind of hard to see because of the grass, but you can see that my knee placement is further forward.
Tip # 2: Make sure your knee (or the line of your femur bone) is in line at least with your second toe. This requires external rotation of your femur bone, which is an action that requires butt muscles to fire.
NOT toward the inside of your foot! Since most people don’t have the range to externally rotate to this degree with this amount of hip flexion, you may have to sacrifice height. You may not be able to go as deeply into this pose (your knee may be at an angle greater than 90 degrees), WHICH IS OKAY if you are trying to target the glutes!
Tip # 3: No duck-butt! You don’t have to squeeze the glutes (that isn’t great either), but roll the pelvis underneath you in such a way that the ischial tuberosities (sitz bones) are pointing at the ground and not behind you.
And there you have it! Next time you are in class doing 5 million warrior II’s, take it as an opportunity to firm your behind!