Virabhadrasana III or Warrior III

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

virabhadrasana iii
English Name(s)
Warrior Pose III
Sanskrit
वीरभद्रासन III / Vīrabhadrāsana
Pronunciation
veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nah III
Meaning
Vira: Warrior/ hero
Bhadra: Friend
Asana: Pose

Virabhadrasana III at a glance

Virabhadrasana iii (flying dragon pose/ Superman) is a challenging and more advanced pose than Warrior 1&2. This pose produces a lot of energy and power within the body and you feel like a warrior and it increases your confidence. This can be included in the yoga sequences.

Benefits:

  • It helps to strengthen your leg Muscles.
  • It also strengthens your arms shoulders and hips.
  • It helps to strengthen your core and tone the abdominal muscles.
  • This Balancing pose helps to increase your focus and concentration.
  • It keeps you away from negative distractions and keeps you focused on your present task.

Who can do it?

People who are already practicing Virabhadrasana 1 & 2, can do this pose. Intermediate and advanced-level practitioners can do this asana to enhance their benefits. People who have good balance and a strong core can practice this asana. Dancers can do this asana. Beginners can do these poses, with props and modifications and gradually get into this pose.

Who should not do it?

Beginners should avoid it until they cultivate some balance and stability. People having injuries in their legs, shoulders, ankles, or back should avoid doing it. Individuals having sciatica, herniated discs, and knee issues should avoid this asana. Pregnant women should avoid doing this asana in their later stages.

How to Do Virabhadrasana III?
Follow the Step-by-Step Procedure

Virabhadrasana iii requires a lot of concentration, balance, and stability to be grounded on one leg and maintain the forward bend posture.

  1. Before you start this asana do some preparatory poses like, Virabhadrasana 1, and practice balancing on one leg or tree pose.
  2. You can start by standing in the Tadasana pose, which is the foundation pose for many asanas. It helps to steady and align your body.
  3. Stand with your legs grounded and arms beside your body, neck, and spine in one line.
  4. Now bring your right foot (standing leg) forward, for about 2 to 3 feet, keep your right foot grounded and place your arms on the hips.
  5. Now bend your front knee (right leg) where your knee should be directly over your ankle.
  6. Here your back leg (left foot) should be steady and engaged, keep the balance over the toes, and now inhale, and here you lift your arm and bring your palms together or keep your arms in line with the shoulder.
  7. Inhale lengthen your spine, and now slowly shift your weight to the front foot.
  8. Start lifting your back leg, keep it straight point the toes down, and keep bending (lean forward) your torso from the hips and keep it easy and slow transition.
  9. Here your back leg (raised leg) and torso should be in one straight line, parallel to the ground.
  10. Now bring your hands forward in front of you, in line with your torso, and parallel to the floor.
  11. Keep breathing and balance on the standing leg, and keep your body straight from the tip of the fingers to the heel.
  12. Here you should engage your core, which will maintain your balance, keep your standing leg strong, and take deep breaths.
  13. Gaze straight or on the floor, at a fixed point- whichever is comfortable, and don’t stress your neck uncomfortable, relax your neck and shoulders and avoid arching your back.
  14. Be in this Virabhadrasana iii pose, as much as you can, and release by inhaling, come back to the Warrior 1 pose. Then come to the Tadasana pose relax and keep breathing.
  15. Now most important is to do it with the other leg (left foot forward) to balance it physically and mentally.

What are the Benefits of the Virabhadrasana III?

  • Warrior iii pose helps to improve and strengthen your core muscles, which include the abdominal muscles and obliques.
  • It also stretches your hamstring, your back of the thigh, your quadriceps, and your ankle.
  • It also helps people sit for longer periods, by strengthening and stabilizing the whole body.
  • It is helpful to improve the muscle strength of the standing leg.
  • This pose can be challenging and enhance your balance and stability.
  • As this pose is being balanced on one leg and with proper alignment, maintaining it in one line (head to heel while lifted), can help to improve your body posture.
  • This helps to improve your mental focus, self-awareness, and your coordination level.

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Virabhadrasana III

  • There are many health benefits from the fierce warrior pose:
  • Individuals with poor posture can practice this asana regularly to balance and improve their posture.
  • People have balance issues, even seniors can practice, the warrior pose regularly to enhance stability, and body awareness and also can reduce the risk of falling.
  • This pose can be good for people to improve and strengthen their, core and back muscles.
  • For stress and anxiety, this could be helpful if you practice it mindfully with breathing and relax your mind and body.
  • This being a challenging pose, practicing this asana, can release the endorphins boost your mood, and help with mild depression.
  • Regular practice will boost your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Safety and Precautions

  • Warm-up is a must as it prepares your body and loosens your muscles for the pose
  • You should avoid this pose if you have, heart problems or high blood pressure.  
  • If you have any injury to your hip, knee, ankle, back or shoulder should avoid this pose.
  • If you are having balance or flexibility issues prepare and then go for this pose.
  • Pregnant women should do it under the guidance of the prenatal yoga teacher, after consulting their health care professional.
  • If you feel any pain or can’t balance, just come out of the pose.

Common Mistakes

  • Keep your core engaged and gaze to a particular point with comfort to keep your balance and stability.
  • Avoid arching your back while holding the pose.
  • Avoid locking the supporting knee.
  • Don’t shrug your shoulders, avoid tension in your neck.
  • Breath is always the guide so keep breathing mindfully.
  • If you are new to this pose, do it under the guidance of the yoga teacher.
  • Listen to your body and if you feel any pain come out of the pose.

Tips for Virabhadrasana III

  • Your lifted leg and torso should be in one line.
  • Keep your core engaged to support the lower back.
  • Don’t force your body, do it slowly and progress gradually.
  • Breathe deeply and coordinate with the movement of the pose.
  • Push back with your left heel while extending forward with your arms.
  • Keep a check on the alignment of your body.
  • You can try practicing in front of the mirror.
  • Use props if needed.
  • Distribute your weight evenly to maintain the balance.

Physical Alignment Principles Virabhadrasana III

  • From the Tadasana pose, step your leg forward, and keep your hands on your hips.
  • Inhale and lean your torso forward, keep your standing foot grounded.
  • Keep your Lifted foot flexed (left leg), and press the heel outward toes pointing to the floor.
  • The hamstrings are activated to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
  • Engage your inner thigh.
  • Pull your navel to the spine.
  • Lengthen to the sides of the body when lifted.
  • You should aim for your entire body to be parallel to the ground in a straight line.
  • Arms should be in line with the ears.
  • You should bend the upper body, from the hip joint, the lifted leg should be parallel to the ground, and shoulder muscles should be engaged to keep the arms parallel to the ground.
  • Gaze down at a particular point.

Virabhadrasana Pose III and Breath

Be mindful of your breath in Warrior III, and be focused on the deep and steady breath. Take a few breaths when in the Tadasana pose.  Inhale and step one foot forward. Exhale and bend your knee, and inhale while you raise your arm and feel your chest expand, and as you exhale and relax your shoulders. Breathing will help you to be calm and balanced.

Now Breathe in lift your back leg and exhale deeply, till your body is parallel to the ground.  Keep breathing, slowly and gently, and balance your mind and body, while holding the pose and gaze down to one point and keep yourself out of distractions. While you release inhale and release the pose with ease and feel the calmness of the Warrior iii pose and keep yourself focused.

Virabhadrasana III and Variations

  • If you are new to yoga, modify by using the wall as the support for your arms or your extended leg.
  • You can also use a chair for support.
  • You can also do Half Warrior pose.

Challenging Variation

  • Bring your hands at the back in the Namaste pose.
  • You can bring the arms on either side of the body like the airplane wings.
  • Warrior squat pose.

The Bottom Line

Virabhadrasana 3, is a balancing and powerful pose, that helps to strengthen and balance your mind and body. It helps to strengthen your abdominal and thigh muscles and also the back muscles, which helps to improve the body posture. Continue breathing throughout the pose and coordinate with the movement of the pose by engaging your core for better balance and stability.

It has even simple variations where people with less physical limitation can do this asana and also for people who want to challenge their physical limitations. Whatever variations you do, listen to your body respect the body sensations, and progress gradually.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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