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.
- 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.
- Begin in a high lunge with your right foot forward and hands together at the center of your chest.
- Lean forward and shift your weight into your right foot until your left foot hovers off the ground.
- Straighten both legs as much as is comfortable. Extend the ball mound of your left foot back behind you and reach your chest forward.
- Press your standing foot firmly into the ground.
- Keep your hips level to the ground.
- 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.
- Stay in the posture for 3-5 breaths, then gently release to standing. Repeat on the other side.
- Pyramid pose | Parsvottanasana
- Half splits pose | Ardha hanumanasana
- Full splits pose | Hanumanasana
- Virabhadra = the name of Shiva incarnated as a fierce warrior
- Asana = pose
- Strengthens ankles, legs, shoulders, and back.
- Tones the abdomen and core.
- Improves posture.
- Creates a sense of power.
Hanumanasana: Front Splits Pose
Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-ah-nah) honors the great leap made by Hanuman, the famous monkey god from the Ramayana, across the ocean from India to the mountains of Sri Lanka. Front splits pose demands flexibility, strength, and stability.
Philosophy + Origin
More than just an incredible leap, Hanuman is remembered, celebrated, and worshiped because of his great devotion and courage. To be devoted, one must be bold enough to stand firmly in their beliefs, selflessly serving others and putting others’ needs above their own.
Because of its physical demands, it’s easy to get caught up in “achieving” the outward appearance of the posture. As such, it’s important to keep your ego in check as you dedicate yourself to the posture. Above all, invite kindness and selflessness to flow freely from the posture. As you practice, ask yourself how you can embody Hanuman’s devotion both in your physical yoga practice and your everyday life.