How to Teach Warrior Two

teach warrior two alignment virabhadrasana two

Alignment Tips and Teaching Cues for Warrior Two

Virabhadrasana II is a foundational posture across many styles of yoga from Hatha to Ashranga to Restorative. When taught correctly Warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana II builds determination, focus and fortitude while opening the hips and building strength throughout the lower body, arms and shoulders. In this blog post you will learn to teach warrior two using proper alignment and effective cueing.

Teach Warrior Two, Virabhadrasana II With Effective Cues

As we do with all of our postures we will build the posture from the ground up. We start with the foundation of the posture (the feet) and move up from there. I encourage you to not overwhelm your students with alignment cues. If you’re mindful with how you bring them into the posture you will not need as many alignment cues to keep your students safe.

  • Have your students take a nice long stance and check their leg distance. With legs straight their feet should be equal to their wingspan (ankles under wrists)
  • Back foot is parallel to back edge of the mat or slightly turned in
  • Lift the arches of both feet
  • Front toes point straight forward
  • Front knee is right over the ankle
  • Visually check the front knee. Students should be able to see the big and second toe
  • Hips are square to the long edge of the mat
  • Abdomen draws in to support the lumbar spine
  • Spine is long- make sure they aren’t collapsing in their lower back (no deep backbend in the lumbar spine)
  • Shoulders over hips and relaxed away from ears
  • Arms extended long at shoulder height palms down
  • Arms are engaged and energized
  • Gaze, drishti, is over the fingertips of the front hand

Warrior Two Benefits:

  • Builds stamina, strength, balance and stability
  • Stretches shoulders, hips and groins
  • Increases staying power and fortitude
  • Energizes the arms and legs
  • Improves circulation and respiration

Warrior Two Variations and Modifications:

  1. Flip palms of hands up toward the ceiling, bend the elbows and draw the shoulder blades down and in toward one another. Keep the shoulders as they are and flip the palms down toward the floor from the elbows.
  2. Teach warrior two with a neck stretch. Flip the front palm up toward the ceiling and pull the elbow in toward the waist. The backhand reaches around the back to bind with the elbow of the front arm. Once the bind is achieved draw the back ear toward the back shoulder.
  3. To strengthen the ankles and the calves lift the heel of the front foot.
  4. Modification for Warrior Two: Use a chair to support the thigh of the front leg.
  5. Modification for Warrior Two: Use a wall for alignment of shoulders and hips.

Warrior Two Contraindications & Cautions:

How to Teach Chair Pose

how to teach chair pose

Alignment and Teaching Cues for Chair Pose, Utkatasana

Chair pose, Utkatasana in Sanskrit, is a popular pose in vinyasa and ashtanga yoga classes. Utkatasana or chair pose builds strength and stability in the legs and core, builds heat in the body and requires focus and balance. Here I will provide teaching cues and alignment tips for chair pose that will benefit both yoga teachers and students alike.

Yoga Cues and Alignment Tips for Teaching Chair Pose

I like to teach asanas from the ground up. Just as you would build a house starting with the foundation it’s important to build a steady posture from its base.

  • Stand with feet together
  • Big toes touch
  • Heels slightly apart
  • Knees point over the second toes
  • Weight is distributed back toward the heels
  • Sit the hips low
  • Lengthen the spine by drawing lower abdomen in and up
  • Arms reach overhead with palms facing one another
  • Shoulders soften away from ears
  • Gaze straight ahead- healthiest for the neck
  • Tips if chair pose creates too much tension and stress for your student’s shoulders suggest they take the hands slightly wider than the shoulders or “goal post” the arms.

Variations of Chair Pose

  • Revolved (ie. with a twist): many arm variations available: hands at heart center in prayer/anjali mudra or arms spread wide are two of my favorites
  • Heels lifted. Press up high on the balls of your feet and lift your heels.
  • With hands bound behind hips. This option opens the shoulders and chest.
  • Feet hip width and a block between the inner thighs. This version of utkatasana helps engage and strengthen the inner thighs (adductors).
  • Bring the palms of the hands to touch overhead.

Benefits of Chair Pose

  • Builds strength and stability in lower body, including: hip flexors, quads, ankles and calves.
  • Tones the muscles of the legs
  • Strengthens the core muscles of the trunk
  • Opens the chest and shoulders
  • Stimulates the heart, diaphragm, and abdominal organs
  • Creates heat

The Easiest Travel to Bergerac, France

travel from uk to bergerac

Situated in South-West France, Bergerac is located between Bordeaux and Toulouse in the Dordogne Purple region which makes it the perfect central location from which to explore the ‘Pays de Bergerac’.  The region is rich in vineyards and fortified ‘bastide’ towns, an extraordinary range of natural and historical heritage sites; fabulous, protected countryside; the beauty of the Dordogne River; the renowned gastronomy and wines of Bordeaux and Bergerac; a rich cultural life and numerous leisure and sporting activities.

Traveling to Bergerac for a holiday? Not sure whether you should take a plane or train? Here are the easiest travel options to Bergerac. Hope you enjoy your French holiday or yoga retreat.

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Easiest Travel From the United Kingdom to Bergerac

Fly to Bergerac

FLY! Cheap flights from the United Kingdom to Bergerac abound. Ryan Air is available for those who fly from Bristol, Liverpool, London Stansted, East Midlands, and Brussels-Charleroi. Flybe flies from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Southampton, and Leeds Bradford to Bergerac.

Fly to Bordeaux (1-1.5 hrs from Bergerac by train or car)

British Airways flies to Bordeaux from London Gatwick and BMI Baby flies from Manchester, East Midlands and Nottingham. From Bordeaux you will take the train or taxi to Bergerac.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac From The UK By Rail

Travel time from Waterloo International (London) to Paris Gare du Nord is 3 hours. Then at Gare Montparnasse in Paris take a train direction Bordeaux, change at Libourne where you can rent a car and you will arrive in Bergerac within another 4 hours. Or from Waterloo Station in London you can change at Lille for Libourne.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac from the UK By Channel Tunnel

You can take the Eurotunnel train from Ashford (near Dover) to Calais and then drive down some 700 miles either in a day or taking a more leisurely pace over a few days.

Easiest Travel to Bergerac from the UK By Ferry

The time it takes to drive from the UK depends very much on which ferry crossing one takes (Caen is the nearest) and how leisurely one’s approach is to touring through France. It is possible to easily drive down in one day – some 300 to 450 miles of motorways.

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Easiest Travel From Amsterdam to Bergerac

Transavia has flights to Bergerac for those who fly from Amsterdam-Schiphol.

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Easiest Travel From Paris to Bergerac

Take the train from Paris Montparnasse toward Bordeaux and change at Libourne (approx. 3.5 hours) From Libourne you’ll take another train to Bergerac, which is about another hour more. The total trip time takes about 5 hours.

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Easiest Travel From the United States to Bergerac

From the United States I recommend flying into Bordeaux (easiest) or Paris. From Bordeaux you can take a taxi or train to Bergerac. If you’re flying in to Paris I recommend staying overnight in the city to catch up on sleep, eat great food and be on the first train to Bergerac in the morning to arrive by noon.

There are tons of flights from the USA to France. Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, NYC, LAX, Miami, Boston, and Washington, DC all offer affordable flights to Paris and sometimes even Bordeaux. Another option is to take one of the LAX/NYC flights to Nice and then a train or flight to Bergerac or Bordeaux. Pro Tip: Start looking for your flight early and consider flying from a hub.

Hire cars are available in Bordeaux and Bergerac either at the station or airport.

12 Secrets to Book Cheaper Airline Tickets

How to find the cheapest flights

How to find the cheapest flights for your yoga retreat

Whether you’re headed across the country or to a different continent you want to book cheaper airline tickets. No one wants to pay full price. There are plenty of airline ticket deals out there if you know how/where to find them.

This past year alone I have gotten some ridiculously cheap tickets from the west coast of North America; for example: Nicaragua  ($450), Thailand ($440), Bali ($460), Paris ($587/$408)… all from the West Coast! Awesome cheap tickets are out there; you just have to know where to find them.

Here are my favorite tips for finding the cheapest airline tickets.

1. Travelpirates.com and Holidaypirates.com

Travel Pirates rocks my world… in fact I have to make sure that I don’t go to their website too often because every time I do I see awesome airfares to places I want to go. I now limit myself to visiting only once or twice a week. Travelpirates.com posts airfare deals all over the world… some fares are error fares, some are sales, and all are at great prices. Also, they use kayak as their search engine, so it’s easy to use.

2. Kayak.com Flexible Date Search

ALWAYS use Kayak’s flexible date search (if possible +/- 3 days). It can save you hundreds of dollars on a flight. I don’t think I need to explain this one any further.

3. Travel Hubs

What are the travel hubs near you? Are they within driving distance? Or a short flight with a domestic carrier? I live in Bend, Oregon… the nearest international airport is Portland, which is a 3+ hour drive away. Portland sometimes has cheap flights, but I can usually save hundreds of dollars by commuting to Seattle or Vancouver, BC. The airports are busier, more flights, means more options and more competition. Look into hubs near you.

4. Check Regularly & Book When The Price Is Right

Do some research, check out Hopper, and find out what the best fare is. Know your buy price and when you see it, book it. Don’t wait. Also, check multiple search engines.

5. Flexible dates

You can find great deals flying most days of the week… although from experience Friday and Sunday are typically the most expensive… if you have any flexibility in your schedule take advantage of it and book an extra couple of days on your vacation. It will be totally worth it. You’ll have extra time to see the sights and get over any jetlag.

6. Farecompare.com

Farecompare.com has some decent tools for finding cheap flights when you don’t care too much about the destination… perhaps book a cheap flight to a destination and then look for a yoga retreat? This would only work in a place like Bali or Costa Rica where there are tons of yoga retreats.

7. Hopper App

Hopper app is a new to me app and I love it. You search your flight route and it will tell you whether it’s a good price or not, by color coding the airfares. It also shows up on a calendar, so you can see when flights are typically cheaper. And for more popular routes it shows the airfare history.

8. Consolidator Fares

I’m a little hesitant to recommend consolidator fares, but I’ve had decent luck with them even though the booking process can be a bit “sketchy” seeming. I’ve used ASAP travel and had both success and frustration. If you book a consolidator fare it’s likely non-refundable. Also, don’t consider your flight booked until you have a confirmation number from the airline.

9. Book 6+ weeks out

Start looking for flights as soon as you see a retreat you’re interested in, watch the fares. Once you start creeping past the 6 week mark the fares will start creeping up in price.

10. Skyscanner

Skyscanner is useful for finding out which airlines fly into specific airports. Go directly to the airline’s site and check out their fares.

11. Hacker fares

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Book your ticket to paradise… whether it’s the French countryside or the tropics.

Hacker fares are multiple one way tickets. They also may be open jaw tickets. Kayak now has an option to book hacker fares.

Here is an example flight that I paid $440 USD for:

Vancouver, BC to Denpasar Bali

Lombok to Vancouver, BC

The one-way flight to Lombok is less than $50 USD…. and if you were interested in getting to Lombok super cheap there are also ferries to Lombok from Bali.

12. Mileage cards

Get a mileage card with a good rate and no annual fee (or at least a very low annual fee) then put all of your bills, rent, groceries, travel expenses on it. Also make sure to stay up to date on their mileage plan, so your points don’t expire.

That’s what I’ve got for you today yogis. I hope this blog hopes you book cheaper airline tickets to your next destination. I would love to hear how it goes!

Always Be a First-Rate Version of Yourself

you be you quote

 

We as humans put on many masks so we can “fit in” with society. What happens when we begin to shed the masks and embrace who we truly are? I came across this Judy Garland quote the other day and I thought I would share it here with you lovely yogis and yoginis.

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland