Warrior III Pose – Virabhadrasana III
Warrior III pose
Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs; and wearing a tiger’s skin. (http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/warrior-iii-pose/)
Yoga has a few different versions of warrior pose and I’m sure there are others that I am unaware of. I’m often asked how many poses there are in the yogic system and to be honest, I just don’t know and I doubt that anyone does either! It gets even more confusing if you follow a particular lineage and poses can be named differently dependent on that. I think it’s important not to get too caught up in whether one particular teacher is right or wrong, rather to ensure you are practicing safely and within your own personal limits.
Benefits Of Warrior III
I love the warrior poses for many reasons but here are just a few of the benefits:
- Stretches out the leg muscles
- Brings awareness to and helps open up the hips
- Strengthens the leg muscles which can help to support & rehabilitate a weak knee (using safe modifications)
- Works the shoulder joints through varying ranges without load and has a strengthening effect through the shoulder girdle
- Generates heat in the body even when held in a static position
- Build it into a slow or fast sequence depending on goals.
- Works the core muscles of the body much more effectively than any sit-up ever could
- Improves proprioceptive awareness which means your balance is better
- Warrior poses can be challenging, satisfying, empowering and energising!
Practicing Warrior III
When practicing warrior III start nice and easily with a chair nearby to help you balance. Stand with the toes of one foot resting on the floor behind you while arms are held up either side of your head. Gradually tip forward in equal parts so that the arms stay in position. The torso doesn’t bend forwards so that the spine stays neutral and lengthened. Once in the pose, ground down into the standing heel and press out through the lifted one. Careful not to twist the pelvis, instead try to keep it level.
If you can’t tip all the way forward that’s fine, you can start with a mini-tip forward instead with the foot only raised slightly and see how you go with that. Check out the little video I recorded to help you along. Please only follow along with this if you are one of my regular students or already have a regular yoga practice. Please don’t attempt if you currently have any injuries or restrictions. The best way to learn is always in person with a real life teacher 🙂
Here is a little video I recorded for my students to continue practicing Warrior III at home. For the full article and explanation, please go here https://www.charleyoga.com.au/warrior-iii-pose/Please Note: I don't recommend following this video if you are new to yoga, have never practiced the pose or are injured or restricted. The best & safest way to learn is always through a real life teacher, in person!
Posted by Charleyoga on Sunday, 18 March 2018
Cheat Sheet for Warrior III
Here is a cheat sheet for remembering which warrior is which. I came up with this when I was learning so I didn’t forget and feel silly! (Even though I’m always telling you not to worry about looking silly!)
- Warrior I – Looks like the number one, arms straight up
- Warrior II – Comes after one (sorry, I got nothing else for this one, just use a process of elimination!)
- Warrior III – 3 of your 4 limbs are off the ground – see, easy!
- Humble Warrior – bowing forward humbly
- Reverse Warrior – tip backwards ie reverse
I hope these little pointers helped you and I look forward to balancing with you again next time!
Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth. She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.
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