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