#23 Virbhadrasana III – Warrior III

This posture really gets the heart pumping and the lungs opening, building a deeper connection and stronger relationships within the body and, by default, in your “off the mat” life.  This posture is especially helpful with strengthening your most important relationship – your relationship with YOU. Practice this posture to peel away the layers of fear and self doubt and reveal your true, confident, calm nature and strong self!

Today, we will complete the Warrior asanas’ sequence.

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. ~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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Warrior III is the most advanced and most difficult of the 3 warrior poses. The body is balanced on one leg, which is held straight with the foot flat on the ground. The other leg is extended backwards and held parallel to the ground. The torso is balanced forward, also held parallel to the ground. Both arms are extended forward as well, making a straight line from the fingers through the arms, back, and leg

Steps:

  1. Start in the Mountain Pose (Tadasana). With an exhalation, step your left foot back to create about 2 feet of distance between your feet. Keep all of your body weight on your right foot, spreading out your toes and really relying on the ball of your foot to stay balanced. Keep your toes facing forward.
  2. Hands on your hips, align your shoulders so that they are perpendicular to your hips and to the mat (if you’re using one). Contract your core muscles to help maintain balance, keeping sustained control of your body before moving to the next step.
  3. Inhale, lifting your left foot slowly until it’s a few inches off the ground. Pause to check your balance, feeling your torso lean forward.
  4. Keeping your head in a neutral position, gaze downward as you continue to lift your left leg up, torso moving forward as you do so. Continue this until your left leg and torso are parallel to the floor, hands still on hips to help maintain balance. Lengthen both of your legs as far as you can, being sure to avoid locking your knees.
  5. If you feel your left hip lifting higher than your right hip or vice versa, focus on keeping them level. Your hips should be parallel, so resist the urge to let one lift more than the other. This will ensure that your posture is correct and that every muscle is being worked to its potential.
  6. Keeping your right foot firmly rooted, feel the length running through your spine and down your left leg. If you are having trouble maintaining your balance, lift your arms out to your sides and parallel to the ground. If you would like to increase the workload, reach your arms directly in front of you, palms facing each other, increasing the length created by your left leg and spine. Continue to look down or bring the head up slightly to look forward, being sure not to bend or put pressure on the neck.
  7. Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds taking steady, mindful breaths. Inhale as you lift your torso and place your left foot back down, then lower your arms with an exhale back into Mountain Pose. Relax in this position for a few breaths before repeating the steps using the other leg.

Benefits:

The Virabhadrasana III has the following benefits to offer when done on a regular basis:

  • Provides strength to ankles, shoulders, back muscles and legs.
  • Stretches the back and spine.
  • Results in toning of the abdomen.
  • Improves the overall body posture and balance.

For newcomers to yoga, Warrior III is a great yoga pose to focus on improvement of the thighs, hamstrings, ankles, calves, hips, shoulders and spine all at once. If you find the raising of the back leg difficult, you may use the following tip: while straightening your front knee by pressing the head of thighbone back, visualize that this leg’s calf is trying to resist against your shin. This will result in further stabilization and avoid any sort of locking or hyper-extending movements.

For advanced students or athletes, Virabhadrasana III is known to be particularly beneficial in providing great strength to important athletic muscles like the thighs and back. You may deepen the overall pose by starting from Warrior I and then transforming this into Warrior III.

You may like to avoid this yoga pose or consult your yoga teacher once before attempting it in case you suffer from the following conditions or ailments:

  • High blood pressure
  • Knee injury or surgery

Feel like a fierce warrior as you master the final yoga pose of Warrior III.

Caution:

Use caution when performing the Warrior III Pose if you have high blood pressure. Also, if you have foot, leg, hip or back pain, it is best to avoid the Warrior III Pose. Women who are pregnant can still perform the pose if possible, but it is advised to use the support of a chair or solid item to help maintain balance.

Hope you enjoyed!

See you tomorrow!!

Namaste

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