In Sanskrit terminology, “Virabhadra” means a brave warrior incarnation of Lord Shiva who wears a tiger’s skin and is described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs . This yoga pose is the third variation of the Warrior Pose.
Begin with Tadasana or the Mountain Pose, then bend your body and fold into Uttanasana, the deep, standing forward bend. While exhaling, move the left foot backwards in a high lunge pose. The right knee should be perpendicular to it. Move both hands proximal to the right knee. Now, while squeezing your knee with hands, raise your torso a bit as you turn to the right.
Extend both arms forwards so that they are aligned to the ground below, and are also aligned to each other with the palms facing inwards. While exhaling, push the standing leg’s heel strongly into the ground. While raising your back leg, try to resist the motion by pushing your tailbone in the pelvis.
Make sure that your torso doesn’t swing forwards, which might result in imbalance of your leg. Your position should be stable and calm.
At this moment, your torso, arms and lifted leg should be aligned to the ground. Extend in both directions by reaching out with your hands as well as with the raised leg. You should be looking straight ahead, but make sure that your posterior neck doesn’t get compressed too much.
Remain like this from 30 to 60 seconds. On exhalation, bring your left foot forwards as you bring back your hands on the sides of the right leg. You may now repeat the above procedure for the other leg.
The Virabhadrasana III has the following benefits to offer when done on a regular basis:
- Provides strength to ankles, shoulders, back muscles and legs.
- Stretches the back and spine.
- Results in toning of the abdomen.
- Improves the overall body posture and balance.
For newcomers to yoga, Warrior III is a great yoga pose to focus on improvement of the thighs, hamstrings, ankles, calves, hips, shoulders and spine all at once. If you find the raising of the back leg difficult, you may use the following tip: while straightening your front knee by pressing the head of thighbone back, visualize that this leg’s calf is trying to resist against your shin. This will result in further stabilization and avoid any sort of locking or hyper-extending movements.
For advanced students or athletes, Virabhadrasana III is known to be particularly beneficial in providing great strength to important athletic muscles like the thighs and back. You may deepen the overall pose by starting from Warrior I and then transforming this into Warrior III.
You may like to avoid this yoga pose or consult your yoga teacher once before attempting it in case you suffer from the following conditions or ailments:
- High blood pressure
- Knee injury or surgery
Feel like a fierce warrior as you master the final yoga pose of Warrior III.