Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

Virabhadrasana III: Warrior III Pose

Warrior III, or virabhadrasana (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-ah-nah) III, is a challenging pose of balance and strength.

Philosophy + Origin

A fierce warrior, Virabhadra is often depicted as having a thousand heads, eyes, and feet. Draped in the skin of a tiger, this warrior wields a thousand clubs. In Virabhadra’s origin story, he is created from a single dreadlock from Shiva’s head, a manifestation of the rage he feels upon feeling like his true love has died. The shape of virabhadrasana III comes from this story, the moment when Virabhadra beheads the king Daksha and extends forward to place the head on a stake.

Despite the outward appearance and violent origin, this powerful pose is actually a great reminder of our own inner strength and the measures we would take in the name of true love.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Shoulder modification: Rather than stretching your arms forward, reach your arms by your sides.
  • Chair: Place your hands on a chair to assist with balance.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in a high lunge with your right foot forward and hands together at the center of your chest.
  2. Lean forward and shift your weight into your right foot until your left foot hovers off the ground.
  3. Straighten both legs as much as is comfortable. Extend the ball mound of your left foot back behind you and reach your chest forward.
  4. Press your standing foot firmly into the ground.
  5. Keep your hips level to the ground.
  6. When you feel relatively steady, reach your arms out in front of you to create one long line from your left foot to your fingertips. Face your palms toward each other and hug your forearms toward each other.
  7. Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths, then gently release to standing. Repeat on the other side.

PREPARATORY POSES:

SEQUENTIAL POSES:

COUNTER POSES:

SANSKRIT:

  • Virabhadra = the name of Shiva incarnated as a fierce warrior
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens ankles, legs, shoulders, and back.
  • Tones the abdomen and core.
  • Improves posture.

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Creates a sense of power.


Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

ADJUSTMENTS    |     BENEFITS   |     SEQUENCING    |     SANSKRIT    |     STEPS

Ardha matsyendrasana (ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-ah-nah) is an approachable twist that opens the shoulders and chest. A good antidote for too much sitting and symptoms that come with overusing technology, half lord of the fishes pose has the ability to increase energy in the body while also stoking the digestive fire in your belly.

Philosophy + Origin

Matsyendra is often recognized as one of the original founders of hatha yoga in yogic mythology. He was said to be a baby who was thrown into the ocean after his parents rejected him. The story of Matsyendra reminds us that it’s often the parts of our personal stories we don’t like or don’t want to accept that can be the most beneficial, especially on the path to becoming a yogi or yogini. Rather than conceptualizing the twist to be a purge of what is unwanted or unnecessary, think of the detoxification as a purification, an opportunity to take what was once viewed or understood as “bad” and transform it into something that is helpful on your personal journey.

Read Article

More In Focus

Our unique blend of yoga, meditation, personal transformation, and alternative healing content is designed for those seeking to not just enhance their physical, spiritual, and intellectual capabilities, but to fuse them in the knowledge that the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.


Use the same account and membership for TV, desktop, and all mobile devices. Plus you can download videos to your device to watch offline later.

Desktop, laptop, tablet, phone devices with Gaia content on screens

Discover what Gaia has to offer.

Testing message will be here