Warrior III


Vīrabhadra’= warrior or name of legendary mythical warrior, ‘āsana’= posture
‘Vīra’= warrior, hero, courageous, vigorous, ‘Bhadra’= good or auspicious’

Alternate Names


Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Pose Type: Standing / Stretch / Balance / Strength

1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your legs slightly apart (about hip distance), keeping your back straight, shoulders and arms down, and palms facing forward.
2. Shift your weight to your left leg, and spread your toes to root your foot to the mat. Move your right leg behind you to rest on your toes for balance as you square your hips forward. Raise your arms overhead so that they frame your ears.
3. Take a deep breath and exhale as you extend your chest forward, bending at the hips, while you lift the right leg. Make sure to flex your right foot so that your toes extend toward the mat.
4. Use your core for balance as you work to get your chest, abdomen, and your back-right leg parallel to the ground. Gaze down toward the mat, keeping your shoulders down, your shoulder blades flat, and your neck soft and relaxed.
5. Your arms should be by your ears with either your palms parallel to each other (and not touching), or with your hands in Prayer Mudra, Jupiter Mudra, or Venus Lock.
6. Make sure your hips are squared to the ground and that your body looks like a “T”. You should have a straight line from your right heel through your leg, to your spine, and over to the top of your head. You should also have a straight line from your hips, down through your left leg, to your left ankle. Some students may not be able to straighten the standing leg, so it’s okay to have a slight bend in the knee.
7. Focus on pushing through your left leg and foot to root and ground yourself to the mat. Engage your quadriceps and the muscles around your knees for balance, along with your core muscles.
8. Stretch from your abdomen out to the heel of your right foot and out to your neck and head.
9. Hold this posture for several breaths (at least 20 seconds to build strength) and then slowly release.
10. Repeat on other side.

Common Adjustments
• Hips uneven / Hips not squared and (hip sockets) not facing down toward the mat
• Moving too quick
• Neck strained / Shoulders hunched or strained up towards the ears
• Back rounded / Spine not aligned with hips, shoulders, and extended leg
• Extended leg not parallel to the ground
• Arms not lined up with each other and parallel to the ground and framing the ears
• Unbalanced / Standing foot lifting off the ground / Chest falling forward
• Knee and/or elbows locked / knee and toes not lined up

• Students who need assistance with balance or alignment, have a knee or hip injury / discomfort, or have vertigo, should practice next to a wall or a chair or with blocks. They can either place their extended foot to the wall or rest it on a chair or they can place their hands / fingers to the wall or on a chair. They can also place their hands on blocks. Alternatively, they can slightly bend the knee of the standing leg.
• Students with shoulder or neck injuries should not extend their arms out past their head. They can either: a) place their hands on their hips, b) bring the arms our sideways, c) keep their hands at their side along their body, or d) place their hands in Prayer Mudra at the heart center.
• Students who have tight hamstrings or knee problems can practice with a slight bend in the knee of the standing leg. This will help them build confidence in the pose, improve balance, and strengthen their legs, as well as relieve the tension in their legs, while providing extra support to balance.
• To challenge your balance, practice with your eyes closed. If you want to improve your balance, practice facing a wall your fingertips against the wall.

Counter Poses
• Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
• Child’s Pose (Balasana)
• Extended Child’s Pose (Utthita Balasana)
• Wide Child’s Pose (Prasarita Balasana)
• Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
• Forward Bend, Standing (Uttanasana)
• Half Forward Bend, Standing (Ardha Uttanasana)
• Plank (Phalakasana)

• Neck• Shoulders (Deltoids)
• Chest (Pectoralis Major and Minor)• Biceps and Triceps
• Middle (Thoracic) and Lower (Lumbar) Back and Spine• Gluteus Maximums, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes)
• Hips (Psoas Major and Minor and Iliopsoas)• Quadriceps and Hamstrings
• Knees• Ankles

• Strengthens and stretches the neck, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdomen, hips, psoas, obliques, groin, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and ankles. This helps with flexibility and joint pain.
• Opens the chest, hips, groin, and shoulders as well as lengthens the spine.
• Improves posture and alignment and can help with a hunched back.
• Releases tension in the hips and glutes, which can be therapeutic for students with sciatica and osteoporosis, as well as reduces stiffness around the neck and shoulders.
• Improves and stabilizes joint health by flexing the neck, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles, which is therapeutic for students with arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
• Improves balance, concentration, memory, and focus, as well as develops poise, will power, and confidence. This also balances the nervous system, which helps relieve insomnia, fatigue, stress, anxiety, and mild depression by energizing and stimulating the mind.
• Improves endurance, stamina, and stability.
• Improves the Respiratory System by opening the chest and increasing lung capacity by breathing through the diaphragm, which is therapeutic for students with asthma.
• Improves circulation and digestion by massaging internal organs and abdomen muscles. Also stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid.

1. Students with neck, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, and/or back injuries, headaches/migraines, weakness in the knees and/or legs, diarrhea, heartburn, palpitations, insomnia, vertigo, eye strain, a cardiac condition, and/or low or high blood pressure should avoid this pose or seek expert guidance and modifications.
2. Students with leg or abdomen weakness, past the first trimester of pregnancy, have a hip replacement or are rehabilitating should avoid this pose. If practiced, use modifications and props and seek guidance.
3. Students who are injured, suffering from a slipped disc, or have high / low blood pressure should avoid this pose unless they are supervised.

Chakra One:Root or Muladhara (root support) Chakra. This is the survival and gravity chakra. Its goals are stability, grounding, prosperity, right livelihood, and physical health. Its location is the base of the spine, coccygeal plexus, legs, feet, and large intestines.
Chakra TwoSacral or Svadhisthana (sweetness) Chakra. This is the chakra for emotion, sexuality, and attraction of opposites. Its goals are fluidity, pleasure, and relaxation. Its location is the abdomen, genitals, lower back, and hips.
Chakra Three:Solar Plexus, Self-Power, or Manipura (lustrous gem) Chakra. This is the combustion, power, and energy chakra. Its goals are vitality, strength of will, and purpose. Its location is the solar plexus.
Chakra Four:Heart, Love, or Anahata (Unstuck) Chakra. This is the love and equilibrium chakra. Its goals are balance, compassion, and acceptance. Its location is the heart.
Chakra Six:Third-Eye or Ajna (to perceive) Chakra. This is the intuition and projection chakra. Its goals are psychic perception and imagination. Its location is the brow.

Additional information on this asana can be found in your textbooks

  • In the textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini, this posture can be found in Chapter 7 – Standing Postures as “Virabhadrasana III – Warrior III”. **This textbook shows a slight variation where the the foot it pointed (instead of flexed).
    • Watch the Chapter 7 video “Virabhadrasana III” found in the Web Resources that come with your textbook “Instructing Hatha Yoga – 2nd Edition With Web Resource” by: Diane M. Ambrosini. This video gives you an additional example of how to practice this asana.
  • In the textbook “YOGA Anatomy – Third Edition” by Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews, this posture can be found in Chapter 8 – STANDING POSES as “VIRABHADRASANA III – Warrior III”.

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