Warrior III Pose

By penny | March 6, 2013
Warrior III Pose

The Warrior Pose is one of the most celebrated yoga pose in the history of the discipline. There are several different variations of this pose, of which three are the most widely accepted. The Warrior III or the Virbhadrasana 3 is the third of these variations. It is most well known for improving the sense of balance and strengthening the core of the body. Apart from this, the pose also helps in strengthening the lower extremities of the body, including the legs, knees and ankles. It also strengthens the shoulders.

Steps of Warrior III Pose

Step 1: Stand straight in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and take in a deep breath. Exhale and bend forward to come into the Ustrasana (Camel Pose). Take in a deep breath and then exhale while bending your right knee and taking your left foot one step backwards.

Step 2: Align yourself in such a way that the middle of your torso is aligned with the middle of your right thigh. At this point, your right knee should be at a right angle. Now slowly bring both your hands to the right knee, placing your right hand on the outer knee and the left hand on its inner side. Slightly lift your torso, squeezing your knee. Exhale and turn slightly to the right.

Step 3: Stretch your arms forward, while still retaining the lunge. Inhale while keeping your arms parallel to the floor and to each other. Shift your weight to the right heel and press it into the floor. Lift the left leg while straightening the front leg.

Step 4: Stabilize the position by pressing the tailbone into the pelvis and offering resistance to the raised leg. Try not to swing your torso forward when you are trying to balance yourself. Focus on straightening your knee as this will help you keep to your position. Try not to tilt your pelvis as that will spoil your posture.

Step 5: Take in a deep breath and slightly raise your head, looking forward. Hold the position for at least 30 seconds. As you gain more experience in the pose, increase the length to about 30 seconds.

Precautions While Performing the Pose

This pose is extremely beneficial to the body. However, it is contraindicated for those who have high blood pressure. People with cardiac complaints should not perform this pose without consulting their doctor at first.

Beginner’s Tip

It is usually very difficult for beginners to bend forward and attain the balance required to maintain the position. To help with this and stabilize the position, beginners may tilt slight forward. Also, resist the straightening of the front of the leg by contracting the muscles of the leg calf. When the movements are opposed in this manner, the muscles hyperextend and stabilize the position.

As a beginner in yoga, you may also take support of a wall or a yoga block. As you gain more confidence, you may perform the extension without any support.

Benefits of the Pose

  • The pose helps strengthen the legs and the ankles by its extensions. All the muscles of the core and the lower extremities are worked out with the help of this pose.
  • When you bend in this pose and extend the lower extremities, it also stretches, tones, and strengthens the muscles of shoulders and the back.
  • As you stretch your upper body, both your back and your abdomen are toned. It is important for you to stretch your abdomen well as it can help you lose fat from there and improve circulation to the organs in the abdominal region as well.
  • This pose is most well known for improving your posture and your balance. When you hold the pose, you align your backbone with the knees, improving your center of gravity and your overall balance.

Therapeutic Applications of the Pose

There are no specific therapeutic applications of this pose. However, this pose can be very beneficial for those who want to lose some fat from their stomach and their abdominal region.

Variations of the Pose

Warrior III pose is a variation in itself but there are further variations of this pose too. The best variation for this pose is by varying the position of your arms. This can add an element of difficulty to the pose. Stretch the arms to both your sides and increase the level to which you have to balance your body in this pose. This will also increase the stretch in your stomach and improve the tone of the abdominal muscles.

Preparatory Poses

Here are some poses that help you prepare for the level of difficulty and challenge that the Virbhadrasana III poses. Most of the standing and seated poses in yoga work as great preparatory poses. Other poses which require balancing can also work.

  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)
  • Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
  • Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose)
  • Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero Pose)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
  • Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I)
  • Virabhadrasana II (Warrior Pose II)
  • Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  • Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Stretched Legs)

Follow Up Poses

Here are some poses which become easier to perform after you have mastered the Virbhadrasana III. Usually, you would be able to attempt most of the standing poses after this pose.

  • Navasana (Boat Pose)
  • Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)
  • Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose)
  • Halasana (Plough Pose)
  • Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  • Natarjasana (Dancer’s Pose)
  • Salamba Sirsasana (Supported Headstand)


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