I have seen recent articles which are calling attention to the placement of the feet in Warrior I and Warrior II, as well as the transition from I to II being problematic and a cause of injury for some people. In one of these articles is featured a picture which shows the placement of the feet. However, the picture shown in the article is incorrect, which may explain why they are experiencing these problems.
In the above-mentioned article, they are showing two different placements of the feet for Warrior I and Warrior II. But actually, these two poses have the same foot placement, which is shown here.
I have never experienced any of the discomforts mentioned in the article. The reason why is because of my technique. The correct foot placement is such that there will be a straight line from the heel of the front foot to the heel of the back foot. This line also aligns with the axis of the front foot, which runs between the first and second metatarsals. The back foot is rotated approximately 45 degrees from the line that connects the heels. It is not crucial that this angle measure exactly 45 degrees. What is more important is that the practitioner can feel the engagement of all the leg muscles from foot to hip. When they are all engaged, the practitioner will be able to feel the ideal angle simply by allowing the engaged muscles to equalize the tension shared among them. This point also brings up the solution to the transition dilemma.
While the placement of the feet is the same in Warrior I and II, the placement of the pelvis is different. And even though the feet placement is the same, they will still have to shift and move in order to make the transition. The feet will have to shift slightly wider apart from each other, but this change does not alter the explaination of what is correct placement. If you do not shift your feet on the floor, then you will not be able to move fully into Warrior II without placing unwanted pressure on your joints.
In Warrior I, it is crucial that the upper leg muscles are operating correctly in order to support the pose and the transition. The mula bandha (lifting the muscles of the pelvic floor) must be complemented by the upper leg muscles drawing into the region of this bandha. The inner thigh muscles, especially, have a large role in keeping the knees and ankles supported and working together harmoniously. If the practitioner is experiencing problems with the ankles, knees, and/or hip joints in this transition, it is because they are not using their leg muscles in the way that they are designed to operate. The problem can be easily solved by properly coordinating these muscles during the pose and the transition.
In the transition for Warrior I to Warrior II, keep the front foot on the floor, but pull the toes and ball of the foot off the floor, so that only the heel is touching the floor. During this action, make sure that the inner thighs are pulling into the region of the pelvic floor. During the Warrior I pose, the front knee is bent at a 90 degree angle, and is kept directly over the ankle, not being allowed to sag inward over the big toe, which is a common mistake made by people with tight inner thighs. Keep the knee aligned over the ankle during the transition to Warrior II, and with all of the muscles of the leg lifting into the mula bandha, open the pelvis and scoot the rear foot back only as much as is needed to allow the pelvis to open fully. In this way, there will not be any binding, compressing, or twisting in the joints.
The movement of the feet is a subtle one. They move only enough to accommodate for the extra distance created by the femurs pulling apart, which is only going to be a couple of inches. If the feet are in proper alignment for Warrior I, then using this technique to shift into Warrior II should not cause any stress on the joints.
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