Warrior III Pose

Virabhadrasana III


  • Strengthens your back, leg, shoulder and arm muscles.
  • Stretches your hamstrings and out thighs.
  • Expands your chest, lungs and shoulders.
  • Improves your memory and concentration.
  • Improves your core awareness, posture, balance and coordination.
  • Tones and invigorates your whole body.
  • Builds core stregth in your torso, abdomen, spine and pelvic floor.
  • Quiets your mind, calms your nervous system and reduces anxiety.
  • Stimulates your abdominal organs and digestion.
  • Pose

  • Cautions

  • Modifications

  • High blood pressure.
  • Recent or chronic foot, ankle, knee, leg, or hip problems.
  • Recent or chronic lower back injuries.
  • If you are pregnant, support the pose with the hands on a chair or some other support.
  • For Beginners - If you find your balance is not steady, place one hand on a wall.
  • If coming forward to parallel with the floor is too vigorous, hinge forward only part way while keeping your upper body and lifted leg in one energetic line.
  • For more challenge, extend your arms forward with your arms in line with your head and neck. Hands can remain open, shoulder width apart, or you can interlace your fingers with index fingers pointing forward (Shiva mudra).
  • This pose can also transition directly out of Virabhadrasana I by slowing leaning forward onto the front foot and gradually lifting your back leg into the balance. Extra coordination and greater awareness to hip alignment is required.
  • Images
  • Step-by-step

Virabhadrasana III(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)
Virabhadra = the name of the warrior who is an incarnation of Shiva

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose.
  2. With an exhalation, step your left foot back, two feet ,while keeping your body weight forward on your right foot.  Keep your right toes facing forward. 
  3. Feel your right toes spread and discover an even grounding through the sole of your right foot. 
  4. Place you habns on your hips to align your hips and shoulders perpendicular to the front of the mat.
  5. Contract your inner core muscles by drawing in the navel and waist.
  6. Sustain a feeling that your are containing the lower organs with a circular band of muscle, then inhale and lift your left foot as your lean your torso forward feeling a hinging motion at your hips. 
  7. Send your gaze straight down as you flex forward from the hips finding a new focal point.
  8. As your torso and left leg move into a parallel position with the floor, lengthening both legs without locking into the bottom knee.
  9. The left hip may lift higher than the right.  Keep your left hip level with the right hip feeling a shift into correct postural alignment. 
  10. Visualize more length moving into the left leg and spine.  Continue the rooting into the right foot and contracting into the core muscles.
  11. To increase the effect of the balance, release your hands from your hips and stretch your arms directly out to the sides expanding your chest or directly forward in line with your head and neck.
  12. If your arms are extended forward, turn your palms to face each other so the shoulder blades can draw down away from your ears.
  13. Breathe slowly and stay here for five to ten breaths.
  14. To exit, inhale as you lift your chest and place your left foot back into Mountain Pose. 
  15. Exhale as you lower your arms, and take a few breaths as you rest and then repeat on the left side for the same length of time.
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LAV, posted on December 8, 2012

Me too, hard to keep hips level!

roby, posted on December 6, 2012

that's one of the most difficult pose for me... why?

evagajda55, posted on January 11, 2016

Hi there, it took me some time to master this pose.

As stated in the modifications section "This pose can also transition directly out of Virabhadrasana I by slowing leaning forward onto the front foot and gradually lifting your back leg into the balance. Extra coordination and greater awareness to hip alignment is required."

Two tips I can offer, which I learned from Iyengar yoga in which you start in Tadasana, take a deep inhalation and with a jump spread the legs apart sideways 4-4.5 feet apart. Come into Warrior 1, exhale, bend the trunk forward and rest the chest on the right or left thigh (whichever side you're on -- you will do both) Now here is the tip, in my class, for beginners I tell them to really focus on their midline -- once they feel steady and strong, they can prepare to lift to Warrior 3 -- you can do this of course by a wall, OR -- what's really helpful is with the legs still in Warrior 1 position and chest resting on the thigh take your hands and clasp them on your lower back -- then practice going up without going all the way up, just lift of slightly a few times, then when ready, with the hands remaining on clasped behind your lower back, take a full lift off on an exhale swinging the body slightly forward while straightening the lifting leg -- aiming to make it poker straight. To focus on keeping your hips square, turn the lifted leg inward towards your midline of your body. Hold this pose for 20-30 seconds with deep even breaths. The supporting leg should be fully engaged --stiff. Once you get this, you can practice stretching the arms forward and pulling the lifted leg back as though two people are stretching you apart. To come out, exhale and come back into Warrior 1 and repeat on the other side.

I hope this makes sense, it's much easier to show in person. I do think there is a youtube tutorial on this, I just can't find it.

Good luck,

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