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.
- Warrior I | Virabhadrasana I
- Cobra pose | Bhujangasana
- Chair pose | Utkanasana
- Pyramid pose | Parsvottanasana
- Half splits pose | Ardha hanumanasana
- Full splits pose | Hanumanasana
- Standing forward fold | Uttanasana
- Half pigeon pose | Eka pada rajakapotasana
- 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.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Upward Facing Dog Pose
ADJUSTMENTS | BENEFITS | SEQUENCING | SANSKRIT | STEPS
Urdhva mukha svanasana (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna) is a challenging backbend commonly seen as part of the transition series in vinyasa yoga.
Philosophy + Origin
The Mahabharata tells a story about a loyal dog who accompanies Yudhishthira, one of the five Pandava brothers, to the gates of heaven. Lord Indra greets the pair at the gates, but tells Yudhishthira that the dog is not allowed into heaven. Upon hearing this, the brother argues for the sake of the dog, telling Lord Indra of its devotion and loyalty. Yudhishthira says that because the dog has been so loyal to him, he will return that loyalty. At this moment, the dog is revealed to be Dharma, and Yudhisthira and his loyal companion are welcomed joyously into heaven. When practicing upward facing dog, remind yourself of the loyalty and dedication you have to your practice and showing up each day in your life. Persistence is always rewarded.