Pose of the Day: Warrior III
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) gets its name from its strong energy and the resilience it develops through practice.
It challenges our balance and perspective as we stand on one leg and gaze straight down to the earth beneath. This posture embodies the warrior energy. To stand steady and stable we must also be soft and still in our mind and body.
Through the Ayurvedic Lens
This is a fantastic posture for building strength and tone of mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue) and to reduce meda dhatu (adipose tissue). Ayurvedically, it decreases kapha (earth and water) as it is invigorating and requires balance, stamina, and strength.
When done for shorter periods of time, this posture decreases vata (air and ether) as it is grounding and nourishing and allows for the practice of steadiness, stillness, and balance.
When held for long periods, this pose may feel heating and possibly aggravating to pitta (fire and water).
Warrior III is a posture for facing your inner fears and maintaining composure and balance simultaneously.
How to Practice
Stand on your mat facing the narrow edge, with your feet hip distance apart and parallel in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).
Step your right foot a few feet in front of you. Your toes face straight towards the narrow edge of your mat.
Rotate the pelvis forward until your head, torso, and left leg are parallel to the floor. Keep your hips square to the ground. Have a micro-bend in your standing leg knee but keep your thighs engaged.
Reach your arms back, alongside the body or directly in front of the body, parallel to the floor.
Focus on lengthening through the spine and feeling an energetic connection between the crown of your head all the way to your left toes.
Hold the pose and take 5 deep breaths, in and out.
To come out of the posture, place your hands on your hips and return the extended leg back to the floor.
Notice how you’re feeling.
Repeat on the second side.
Variations or Modifications
If you’re not able to bring your torso, arms, and leg parallel to the floor, simply lift the back leg as far away from the floor as is comfortable and maintain a straight line from the crown of your head to your back toes. The further down you lower the torso towards the ground, the higher you will lift the leg to maintain the line from the head to the back toes.
This is a safe posture for all unless you have an ankle injury that prevents you from balancing.
Flow with Warrior III
This flow is good for more seasoned practitioners.
From Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), step your right leg in between the hands and place your left foot at a forty-five-degree angle for Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II). Take 5 breaths. Slide your left hand down the left leg, coming in to Exalted, or Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana). Take 5 breaths. Transfer the weight from your back foot to the right foot and come into Warrior III. Take five breaths. Transition through Downward Facing Dog to repeat on the second side.