Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3): Warm Up, Then Challenge Your Core

Before practicing Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3), you should warm up. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or challenging, but Warrior 3 uses some small stabilizers in the hip. You will want those muscles to be prepared before asking them to work so intensely.

To prepare for Warrior 3, I suggest that you do some Sun Salutations, all types of Anjaneyasana, Warrior 1, and Uttanasana. It also might be worth adding Parsvottanasana and/or Parivrtta Trikonasana to find that feeling of scissoring the inner thighs, which is important in this posture.

Warrior 3

Warrior 3

  1. We will use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin in Tadasana with your hands at your sternum (breastbone). Feel how your feet press into the floor. Imagine they are pressing the floor away from you.
  3. Lift the ribs away from the hips and draw your belly button to your spine. This should not change the placement of your pelvis.
  4. Bring your right foot a few inches behind you so that your weight is now mostly on your left leg.
  5. Think of pushing the floor away from you with your left leg as you lift your ribs away from your hips and let your upper body hinge forward from the waist. As you do this, your right leg raises behind you.
  6. Find the scissoring action of the adductors (inner thighs) and make sure your pelvis is not rotated.
  7. Flex your right foot so that the toes point down to the ground.
  8. From your right heel through the top of your head is a straight line of energy.
  9. You don’t have to lift your back leg very high. It is more important that you feel your supporting leg press the floor away and feel your abdominals keep your spine in a straight line.
  10. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
  11. When you are finished, bring the upper body upright and place the right foot next to the left.
  12. Repeat on the other side.

Warrior 3 with Blocks

Warrior 3 with blocks

Warrior 3 can also be done with blocks. Use the blocks to raise the floor up to you. I hold one block in each hand, making them extensions of my arms. As I hinge forward, I place the blocks on the floor.

Using the blocks will challenge you to lift your back leg so that it is level with your torso. Only do this if your stabilizers in your hip are in good shape. If you don’t know about your hip stabilizers and are wanting to give this a try, go for it! You will be able to figure out if this exercise is good for you tomorrow when you assess your soreness.

Warrior 3 Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

How do you think the 3 Warrior poses relate to each other? Let’s get some discussion going!

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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