Transition from Vira I to Vira II
In adho muhka svanasana, inhale and elongate your spine from neck to tailbone, exhale and let go of any tension in your neck. From the inner right heel, lift your right leg to hip level and bring it forward between your hands, making sure your knee is directly above your ankle and not extending in front of your foot. Let your back foot drop to the floor, angling the toes toward the front of your mat. Look at your feet – they should be in heel to heel alignment for Virabhadrasana I, and your right knee should be in line with your second toe. If you are pregnant or have any low back problems, take a moment to adjust your feet to a wider stance for more stability.
On your next inhale, lift up from your core, sweeping the arms overhead until the palms come together lightly. Allow your gaze to follow your hands. Hold the pose as we work from the ground up to square the hips to the front of the room. Press down strongly through both heels, especially the outer edge of your back heel. Exhale and sink deeper into the pose, bringing your right thigh parallel to the floor. Engage the quadriceps on your back leg and spiral the inner thigh toward the back of the room. Exhale and bring your hands to your hips.
To prepare for Virabhadrasana II, we need to adjust our foundation. Heel-toe your front foot to the left until your front heel is aligned with your back arch. Adjust your back foot if necessary – it may be more comfortable if you shift your toes back slightly – they should still angled toward the front of your mat, but a wider angle for the back foot will give your more stability in Virabhadrasana II and allow your front leg to open into external rotation. Adjust the position of your pelvis – it should no longer be squared to the front of the room, but open to the side wall. Look at your right knee and ensure it is in line with your second toe.
Inhale, get length through your waist, and lift your arms to come parallel to the floor as you turn your face to the front of the room (over the right arm). Lift your sternum, widen across your collarbones, and press your shoulder blades forward into your chest. Exhale and sink a little deeper, bringing the right thigh parallel to the floor if you can. Soften the face and let the shoulders drop away from the ears, finding stability and ease in the pose as you hold here for another breath. On your next exhale, windmill the arms to the floor and come through a vinyasa – chaturanga, urdhva mukha svanasana, and finish in adho mukha svanasana.