• Gillian McGhee

Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)

Warrior 3 is a challenging but fun balancing posture that creates stability throughout the body. This dynamic posture works deeply into the legs and embodies strength, intuition and freedom in the mind. It encourages you to bring your attention inwards and have fun experimenting with balance.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the ankles, feet and legs

  • Improves balance

  • Works into the back and shoulder muscles

  • Engages and tones the abdomen

How to Practice Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana III)

  1. Begin by standing in tadasana (mountain pose) with both feet together and hands down by your sides.

  2. Lift and spread your toes and then press the toe pads down towards the mat.

  3. Root your right foot into the mat and begin to lighten the load of your left leg - imagine that you are pouring all the weight from the left leg into the right.

  4. Bring the palms of the hands together in prayer position at the chest press the thumbs into the sternum

  5. Lift the left knee and then - slowly - swing your leg back. Imagine that you are a pendulum, as your leg moves back your torso moves forward until you reach a capital T shape. Be sure to keep your toes active and knee pointing down towards the ground. Try not to raise the left leg too high aim to keep the hips level and find a still point to fix your gaze.

  6. *Optional* extend the arms forward, aim to keep them in line with the shoulders. Alternatively, wing the arms back behind you keeping the arms in line with the torso.

  7. To come out of the pose engage the hip flexors and slowly swing the leg forward with control. To challenge your control lift the knee high before sending the left foot down to meet the right.


Variations

In Warrior 3 you can have a go at playing around with various arm positions. Try extending your arms straight out in front of you to add more challenge to your balance. Alternatively, you can wing the arms back behind you so that they are in line with your torso and legs. Finally, you can bring the palms of the hands together at a prayer position with the thumbs pressing in towards the sternum.




Modifications

If you have tight hips this pose can be a challenge on the hip flexors, this will make it tricky to extend your lifted leg high in line with the hips. To avoid overextending here try raising your arms and lifting your leg only a few feet off of the ground. Over time, you can work towards raising your leg higher when the hips open up more.


If balance is a challenge, practice this posture by holding onto a wall, chair or a partner for support. Make sure that your supporting surface won't move by the added pressure!