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  • Writer's pictureshannonkyeager

5 Ways to Practice Warrior III For Stability and Strength

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

Understand the benefits of warrior 3 (virabhadrasana III), try variations of the pose and learn tips to build stability in your yoga practice.



Warrior 3 (virabhadrasana III) is a powerful yoga pose that cultivates strength, focus and balance. Standing on one leg can be a humbling experience — I find it especially difficult after a long work day or post-workout when my muscles are sore. The pose challenges us to let go of our ego, practice patience and live in the present moment.


Physically, warrior 3 involves grounding down for stability while simultaneously expanding from the toes to the fingertips. Some of the benefits of practicing warrior 3 include:

  • Improves balance

  • Activates the core muscles

  • Increases concentration

  • On your standing leg, the pose strengthens your quad and stretches your hamstring and glute

  • On your lifted leg, the pose strengthens your hamstring and glute and stretches your hip flexor


There are many different ways you can practice warrior 3 depending on what your body needs — and this may change day to day. In this video, you can try a variety of props and arm positions to make the pose more stable or more challenging.



Here are five ways to practice warrior 3:

  1. Face the wall: Press your palms into the wall and hinge forward making an “L” shape with your body. Shift your weight onto one leg and lift your other leg up so your upper body, arms and lifted leg are in one line.

  2. Face away from the wall: Shift your weight into one leg. Hinge forward and lift the other leg behind you. Plant your foot on the wall with your toes facing down toward the ground. Press your lifted leg firmly into the wall to engage the muscles.

  3. Use a chair or couch: Face away from the chair or couch. Shift your weight onto one leg. Hinge forward and lift the other leg behind you. Tuck your toes and rest them on the chair or couch. Choose a surface that allows your lifted leg to be in line with your upper body.

  4. Use blocks: Place blocks on any height underneath your hands. Shift your weight onto one leg. Hinge forward and lift the other leg behind you with your toes facing down toward the ground.

  5. No blocks: Start in a warrior 1 pose (virabhadrasana I). Shift your weight onto the front leg. Hinge forward and lift the other leg so it is in-line with your upper body. You can place your hands in a prayer position at your heart or reach your arms behind you, to the sides or in front of you.


These are my top tips for finding stability in warrior 3:

  • Warm up with 1-3 rounds of surya namaskars (sun salutations). I offer surya namaskar B in the video

  • Flex the foot of your lifted leg and turn your toes down toward the floor to help square off your hips

  • Press through the heel of your lifted leg to engage the leg muscles

  • Firmly root all four corners of the standing foot down into the ground

  • Keep a slight bend in the standing leg to avoid hyper-extending your knee joint

  • Hug your belly button in toward your spine to engage your core muscles

  • Use warrior 3 to transition between other standing poses to practice control and stability in a yoga flow

  • If you are recovering from an injury in the legs, hips, back or shoulders, consult with your doctor before trying the pose


You may notice that warrior 3 is easier on one side. You may also find the pose feels stable some days and nearly impossible on other days. While it might be challenging, I encourage you to keep practicing the pose even on the hard days — there is something incredibly satisfying about advancing the pose over time.


How did warrior 3 feel for you? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. If you found the tutorial helpful, save it to practice again and share it with your yoga community.


With gratitude,

Shannon

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