Yoga Pose 101: Warrior III

Daniel Scott
Yoga Pose 101: Warrior III

Pronounced veer-ah-bah-drahs-anna

Fun Fact: One theory on why flamingos sleep standing on one leg is that it conserves energy. As you’ll notice from practicing Warrior 3, it takes a lot of energy to pump blood throughout outstretched legs, hence why those majestic pink birds would rather tuck one in close to the body.

Drishti: Angust Ma Dyai (Looking at Thumbs) or any one place you can comfortably find balance

Benefits

  • Learn to balance on one leg (great party yoga trick)
  • Build functional strengthen one thigh, calf, and foot at a time
  • Sharpen awareness in your feet (spread those front toes, draw up that back arch)
  • Core connection to lengthen and support the back body
  • Hone one-pointed focus
  • Deepen connection of breath to balance
  • It’s energizing!

Contraindications/Cautions

  • Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees or shoulders.
  • High blood pressure (be mindful of keeping the arms raised in line with the heart for extended periods of time)

Step by Step

From High Lunge (Ashwa Sanchalanasana aka Equestrian pose or Successful Field Goalasana) (bold)

  1. Keeping your back heel lifted, lean your torso 45 degrees forward, creating two parallel lines from your hips through the shoulders to your hands.
  2. Ground down through your front foot, activating the thigh and spreading the toes strongly across the floor.
  3. Begin to point through the back foot, slowly pouring weight through your bent front leg, keeping your hips floating directly over the standing heel.
  4. Using the floating back leg as a counter balance to the outstretched arms. Feel the inside of your thighs open towards the outside edge of your feet.
  5. Extend out through the fingertips as you draw the shoulder blades down towards the hips. Keep the ears in line with the arms until you’re ready to lift the head.
  6. Extend the standing leg as much as possible without locking out the knee.
  7. Balance (or enjoy the pursuit thereof) to your heart’s content.
  8. Repeat on other side.

Modifications

Easier: Hand outstretched to the side like airplane wings.

Harder: Arms out in front.

Even Moreso: Yoga Mudra (fingers interlaced behind the back with straight elbows). Get creative. Take it slow!

Beginners Tip

You might find more balance with a slight to moderate bend in the standing leg, especially if you’ve got tight hamstrings. Consider using a block and working with Standing Split (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana) until you feel confident to go hands-free.

Deepen the Pose

Work on slowly floating into and out of Warrior 3 with grace and confidence from a variety of different poses such as Chair Pose (utkatasana), any of the other Warriors, or half-split (ardha hanumanasna). By mastering this pose, one begins to truly master the slow strength and poise necessary to mirror stillness in movement and vice-versa.

What can I say? Warrior 3 really brings out the yogi in all of us.