The Triangle pose stretches and strengthens the thighs and ankles, stretches the hamstrings, hips, spine, and chest, relieves backache (especially during pregnancy—I’m photographed here as I entered my third trimester), and helps to keep stress at bay.
Position legs 4 ft. apart. Raise arms parallel to the ground and actively reach hands out, palms face down.
Turn right foot out 45 degrees and align heels together (or heel to arch to help with balance). Firm the thighs and keep right kneecap in line with the center of the right ankle.
Inhale deeply, and as you slowly exhale, extend the torso directly over the right thigh, bending at the hip joint.
Firmly press the outer left heel into the ground and pull the left shoulder back to open through the chest.
Lengthen the tailbone towards the back heel and place your right hand on a block, your ankle, or on the ground outside of the right foot (advanced). Lift left hand up toward the sky and gaze toward fingertips.
The Warrior II Pose (or Virabhadrasana II, if you’re already an advanced yogi) has several benefits. It stretches hips, shoulders, and the groin. It opens the chest, improving respiration. It stimulates digestive organs. But most of all, it builds stamina and stability and focuses on balance.
Setup & Starting Position
Stand in Mountain Pose.
Step your feet out across the floor (or yoga mat, if you have one).
Turn your left foot out 90° so that your left heel is aligned with your right heel.
Raise your arms to the sides, keeping your shoulders down and your palms facing the ground, and turn your head to the left.
Exhale and bend your left knee. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor (if possible), your knee should be above your ankle, and your tailbone should be tucked in slightly. Make sure to distribute your weight evenly between both legs.
Inhale and exhale slowly several times.
Inhale and straighten your left leg, returning to Mountain Pose.
Repeat exercise on the opposite side.
Tip: If the exercise seems easy, try sinking deeper into your lunge so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
Sources: Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga by Tara Stiles and yogajournal.com