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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.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

FOLLOW-UP 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.

MANTRA:

“YAM”

Reciting the bija mantra YAM for the heart chakra is a powerful way to increase steadiness and focus in this pose while maintaining a sense of calm, balanced strength.

MUDRA: Hasta Mudra

Also known as hand mudra, this heart-opening gesture symbolizes balance in the ability to both give and receive. Reach your arms forward with palms face up and soften your shoulders.

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