Basic Standing Yoga Poses: High Lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2

The 3 most popular stances in Yoga Asana, we see them all the times in the Sun Salutations. To me, High Lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2 are must-have in a Yoga class. Very popular, we do them all the time, but to a beginner in Yoga, they can still be challenging.


High Lunge is not an original Yoga pose. It comes from the Lunge in other forms of training, introduced to Yoga as a variation or modification of the Warrior 1. Personally, I prefer to introduce High Lunge to beginners in Yoga. High Lunge put people in a semi-balance Yoga pose where their legs are trained.

Like in Chair Pose, raising the arms can create an unnecessary backbend for people with tight shoulders. We can find other positions for the arms so that we can focus on the lower body such as holding hands on the hips, hands on the thighs. Hands on the thighs is very helpful when we lift ourselves from the floor to High Lunge, especially from 3 Legged Down Dog to High Lunge in the Sun Salutations. Hands on thighs is a great pose for beginners in Yoga so they stand up straight. It's totally fine to bend the back knee. Depends on what benefits I want to gain from the class, I will choose to do High Lunge with a backbend or with neutral spine, and back knee straight or bent.

There's some balance feature in High Lunge for we are standing with only the toes on the back foot. Yoga beginners who are not used to balance can support the pose by put their heels on a block or on the wall. As you progress in Yoga, your body will get used to High Lunge and balance better.

Once we solved the lower body, we can find more variations for the upper body. Use a strap to help increase the mobility of the shoulders by tearing the strap apart as bringing the strap over the head. You can add variations such as backbend or side bend with the strap like I have demonstrated in Urdhva Hastasana. Some more variations are introduced in the Twist section.


Warrior 1 looks easier than High Lunge, for now we are standing with both feet on the floor. It's easier to keep balance, yes, but the tricky part is that the hips still have to be ¨square¨ like in High Lunge. Warrior 1 gives you a calf stretch that High Lunge doesn't have. It feels easier to keep balance in Warrior 1 and that's where many people fall into the pose without finding strength on the back leg. For a flexible person, this may lead to colapsing in the knee or ankle. I am quite a flexible person and I have to put extra strength into my back leg so that my knee won't be hyper extended.

For a rather ¨stiff¨ person, the problem is that their hips are not square, but turning to the side in Warrior 1. Option 1 is to bring the feet towards the sides of the mat, so that you are in a wider stance, creating more space for the hips to square. Notice that wider stance not longer stance. And Option 2 is to make it a shorter stance, bringing your back foot a bit closer to the front foot, so that your hips can square.


Warrior 2 is a simple and stable standing pose in Yoga but very powerful and strengthening for the lower body: legs and hips. I highly recommend this pose. Hold Warrior 2 for a while to feel the strength coming in your lower body. This pose is also strengthening for the arms and shoulders.

Warrior 2 is suitable for all levels, and I believe anyone who can go to a Yoga class can perform Warrior 2. Props are not so necessary. However, to make the pose more fun, we can try holding two blocks and feel how it heats up the arms!

Look funny, but try holding the two blocks, even bringing them up and down continuously or circling your hands with the blocks. It's really burning your arms!

From Warrior 2, we can do Reverse Warrior, a side stretch variation, or Extended Side Angle, which I have a whole post for. Use a strap to make the pose more interesting, a bit more challenging and improve shoulder mobility for someone with tight shoulders.

By holding the strap, when you move from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle with the Bound, you already have the strap to support in bounded hands.


Thank you for reading! More about Basic Standing Poses in Yoga:

See how I use basic Yoga props to do ANY Yoga poses in my Prop Up Project:

  1. Grounding Poses in Yoga

  2. Yoga Poses in the Sun Salutations

  3. Basic Standing Poses

  4. Standing Balance Poses

  5. Core Yoga Poses

  6. Backbends in Yoga

  7. Twists in Yoga

  8. Forward Bends in Yoga

  9. Arm Balance in Yoga

  10. Inversion in Yoga

Prop Up Project from Ha My Yoga to help you do more than 80 Yoga poses easier and more effectively with simple Yoga props like block, strap, wall, blanket, bolster, etc. So you can really enjoy doing Yoga!

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