What is Warrior 3 pose?
Known as Virabhadrasana 3, warrior 3 is part of the standing warrior series of asanas. The warrior series of poses are named after the mythical warrior Virabhadra and represent strength, resilience and determination. Warrior 3 requires power, strength and stability to practice gracefully and with ease. Over time, one will build the necessary balance to practice the posture effortlessly.
Position type: Standing/ Lunge
Posture type: Balancing
Ideal for: Leg and back strength; balance
Targets: Body and mind balance
Pose level: Intermediate
How to prepare for Warrior 3
Legs and Core strength
Working on leg and core strength with other exercises is helpful for Warrior 3. As strength, stability and stamina improves alignment also improves. Practice postures such as the swaying palm tree pose, standing spinal twist, chair pose and the boat pose. Practice the other warrior series, triangle pose and extended side angle pose also to improve strength. Regular practice of Surya Namaskars are also helpful. With better legs and core strength, practitioners also find it easier to keep the hips balanced in Warrior 3.
Balance and flexibility
Better balance and flexibility is helpful in improving stability and the ability to hold the posture for longer. Practice yoga asanas such as the standing forward fold, garland pose, low lunge, high lunge, tree pose and eagle pose. Gradually, the legs will be more comfortable in the posture. Ensure you gaze directly at a point in front of you as the breath will support in maintaining balance.
How to do Virabhadrasana 3
Getting into the posture
- Stand in Mountain pose at the center of your mat. Now step the right foot forward by a foot’s length and shift your weight onto the right leg.
- As you inhale, take your hands over your head and interlock the fingers with the index finger pointing upwards.
- Exhale and lift the left leg up and outwards. Lower the arms and upper body towards the floor.
- Gaze directly at a point in front of you to maintain balance. Stretch out such that your body is in one straight line from the left toes to the crown and fingers.
- Take deep breaths and hold the posture for a few breaths.
Getting out of the pose
- To come out of the posture, inhale and slowly lower the raised leg to the floor and come back to mountain pose.
- Now attempt the posture with the other leg raise.
Key alignments in Virabhadrasana 3
- Ensure the hips are in one straight line and not raising upwards or falling outwards.
- The body should be in one straight line, from the toes of the raised leg to the fingertips. The standing leg should also remain straight without the knees bending.
- Ensure the foundation of the standing leg’s foot is strong and stable. Weight should be equally distributed on the foot.
What are the benefits of Virabhadrasana 3?
Warrior 3 improves balance, coordination and concentration. Stability in the entire body improves, helping prevent falls from imbalances. The muscles in the feet and ankles get stronger, along with the legs, back and abdominal muscles. The entire torso, back, shoulders and arm muscles get stretched and strengthened. Virabhadrasana 3 improves mental stability, strength, memory, focus and resilience. There is greater body awareness and presence of mind. A certain self-confidence, courage and sense of grounding occurs.
What are the contraindications of Virabhadrasana 3?
Anyone with high blood pressure, recent or chronic injuries in the legs, hips, back or shoulder should avoid practicing warrior 3. Pregnant women should avoid the asana.
Counterposes of Virabhadrasana 3
Stand in Mountain pose for a few minutes and ensure you practice Warrior 3 with both legs.
Variations of Virabhadrasana 3
- In the beginning you can practice in front of a wall such that when you lunge forward, your fingers are lightly touching the wall. This will provide support and help maintain balance.
- You can also bring the arms out to the side as this helps balance better.
- The arms can also be placed on the hips for better balance.
Advice for beginners
Ensure you keep the right alignment in mind. This means maintaining leveled hips, a strong foundation of the foot on the mat and the body in one straight line. Keep the core engaged for better strength and balance. Gaze at a point in front of you and do not shift focus as this will make you lose balance.
- Practice with complete awareness and focus. Pay attention to sensations in the legs, back and hands. In case of any discomfort, release and try again.
- Maintain stability and balance in the hips as this will determine the right alignment in the posture.
Learn how to practice Virabhadrasana three the right way, with modification and props, from an experienced teacher LIVE on Shvasa.