Instructor: Sarah N.
Sarah has completed an intensive yoga teacher training program in Pune, India at the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute. She has been inspired to continue practicing and teaching yoga for life.

Warrior III Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions


Step-by-step instructions on moving from High Lunge to Warrior III.

Step by Step Pose Information Benefits Variations Partnering

Virabhadrasana III

(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs; and wearing a tiger's skin.

How to do the Warrior III Pose

Step One

Stand up in Tadasana, or Mountain Pose. Take a deep breath and then jump your feet out to the sides on your next exhalation. Your feet should be at least 4 feet apart or more with the toes pointed forward. Turn your right foot 90 degrees to the right side. Turn the toes of your left foot 45 degrees toward the right as well.

Adjust your heels so that they're in line with each other horizontally on the floor. Keep your arms straight and in line with your shoulders. Rotate your thighs toward the right and bend your right knee down to a 90 degree angle while lifting your arms up to come into Warrior I Pose, or Virabhadrasana I.

Step Two

Take another deep breath. Then on a long exhalation, bend your torso and arms forward together so that the center of your chest touches the top midline of your right thigh. Keep your arms straight and press your palms together. Lift your arms so that they are parallel to the floor. Take a breath.

Step Three

On an exhalation, push your right foot firmly down into the mat and straighten your right leg as you lift up your left leg behind you. Imagine one person is pulling your hands forward while another person is pulling your left foot back right behind you.

Keep your weight more over the heel of your right foot instead of leaning too far forward on the ball of the foot. Point the toes of your left foot and make the entire front of the left leg face the ground. Both legs should be perfectly straight. The right leg should remain perpendicular to the floor.

Step Four

Push back actively through your left leg as if you are stretching out to touch an imaginary wall behind you. Raise your head up and look straight ahead without over-compressing the back of your neck.

Step Five

Hold the final position for 30 seconds or more if you can. To come out of the posture, exhale and lower the left leg back down, returning to the lunge position you were in earlier. Put your hands on the floor if necessary to regain your balance. Then come up and take a few breaths. Now turn your feet to the left and repeat this posture on the other side. Hold the pose for same amount of time on both sides.

Beginner's Tip:

If you are struggling with coming into this posture from Virabhadrasana I, then try performing the simpler pose Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, first. Then from here, rotate your torso to the right and come into Virabhadrasana III by kicking your left leg up straight behind you.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name:

Virabhadrasana III

Pose Level:

Level 2

Contraindications and Cautions:

  1. Heart conditions like high blood pressure
  2. Heavy menstrual bleeding
  3. For pregnancy: This posture is safe for most women during the first trimester. Seek the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor if you have a history of miscarriages. Personalized advice is also important after the first trimester.

Modifications and Props:

Use a chair to help you find your balance when you are first learning this posture. Place the chair just in front of the edge of your yoga mat with the back of the chair facing you. After you come up to balance on one foot in the pose, stretch your arms out to hold the top of the chair's back in order to steady yourself. The chair can support your hands at first, but try to gradually push the chair away from you bit by bit so that your body learns how to support itself eventually.

Deepen the Pose:

After you come up into the full posture, tuck your shoulder blades deep into your back to expand your chest. Engage your abdominal muscles so that the stomach does not hang down. Look down briefly to check that your hips are level with each other and your abdomen faces the floor without tilting. Do not lock or hyperextend the knee of your standing leg.

Benefits

  • Tones the abdominal organs
  • Builds strength in the ankles and legs
  • Helps to develop better standing posture in daily life
  • Strengthens the shoulders and back

Variations

Once you become comfortable in Virabhadrasana III, you can change your arm position. Extend your arms straight out to the sides like wings. For a greater challenge, you can also try stretching your arms back next to the sides of your body with your palms facing up.

Partnering

Ask a partner to help you balance properly and check your alignment in the pose. They should stand in front of you.

Ask them to hold your wrists in their hands right before you come up into the final pose. Then they can gently pull you forward and steady you as you balance.

Once you are steady, they should let go of your hands and walk around you to check that the entire front of your body faces the floor.

They should see that you have formed a straight line all the way from the toes of your lifted leg to your fingers. They can tap you to point out wherever you are falling out of alignment.

Next Pose:

Wheel Pose

9 styles | 152 poses

Beginner Yoga Poses

Bharadvaja's Twist Pose
Big Toe Pose
Boat Pose
Bound Angle Pose
Bow Pose
Bridge Pose
Camel Pose
Cat Pose
Chair Pose
Child's Pose
Cobra Pose
Corpse Pose
Cow Pose
Cow Face Pose
Crow Pose
Dolphin Plank Pose
Downward Dog Pose
Eagle Pose
Eight Angle Pose
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose
Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Side Angle Pose
Firefly Pose
Fish Pose
Garland Pose
Half Frog Pose
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
Half Moon Pose
Yoga Handstand
Happy Baby Pose
Head To Knee Pose
High Lunge Pose
Legs Up The Wall Pose
Locust Pose
Lotus Pose
Shoulder Pressing Pose
Low Lunge Pose
Monkey Pose
Mountain Pose
Noose Pose
Plank Pose
Plow Pose
Sage Koundinya I Pose
Sage Marichi's Pose
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Revolved Triangle Pose
Revolved Head to Knee Pose
Reclining Hero Pose
Scale Pose
Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Peacock Pose
Pyramid Pose
Crescent Lunge Pose
Heron Pose
Hero Pose
Feathered Peacock Pose
Staff Pose
Seated Forward Bend Pose
Four Limbed Staff Pose
Revolved Side Angle Pose
Wild Thing Pose
Side Crow Pose
Side Plank Pose
Sphinx Pose
Supported Headstand (Sirsasana)
Tree Pose
Standing Split
Supported Shoulderstand
Standing Half Forward Bend
Triangle Pose
Upward Plank Pose
Upward Facing Two Foot Staff Pose
Wheel Pose
Upward Salute Pose
Upward Facing Dog Pose
Warrior I Pose
Warrior II Pose
Warrior III Pose
Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend
Easy Pose
Gate Pose
Wide Legged Forward Fold
Dancer Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II
Marichi's Pose
Fire Log Pose
Standing Forward Bend
Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

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