WARRIOR III: Virabhadrasana III

POSE TYPE: Standing strength and balance pose


"In Sanskrit, warrior pose is known as Virabhadrasana (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh). It is the combination of three words—vira, meaning “hero,” bhadra, meaning “friend,” and asana, meaning “posture,” “pose,” or “seat.”. In Indian culture, warrior I, warrior II and warrior III are each a spiritually significant posture that is named after the mythological Hindu warrior, Virabhadra, who is an incarnation of the god, Shiva. Indian storytellers paint Virabhadraas a powerful and fierce figure; he is tall, dark, and unpredictable with hair and eyes made of fire. As you hold each of the warrior poses, envision yourself as Virabhadra—harness his intensity and willpower as you maintain correct posture and build up your stamina."
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Warrior III is the most challenging warrior pose which requires full body coordination and mental steadiness. It improves your balance and posture, aids in concentration, tones your core and tones and strengthens your ankles and legs.


From Mountain Pose (Tadasana) bring hands to your hips, bring weight to your left foot and unweight your right foot. Press all four corners of your left foot down. Exhale and lean forward while keeping your hips square to the floor. Engage your quads and draw the navel in with your abs engaged. Flex your back foot and point your toes downwards with an inward rotation of your thigh and extend your arms forward with palms facing in. Keep your head, neck, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle all in a straight line and gaze forward and down. Breathe here for a few breaths. Then exhale to drop extended foot back down and repeat on the other side.


Balancing in this pose can be very challenging for beginners. Beginners may want to start this pose from Warrior I or a lunge position. A beginner may also want to position a chair in front of him or her for support. If using a chair try to hold the chair as lightly as possible.

  • Don’t be afraid to lose your balance or fall out of warrior III—just take it slow and have confidence that your stability will improve over time.
  • Don’t allow your abdominal muscles to collapse in warrior III—keeping your core activated will help protect your lower back as you hold this pose.
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*Dorsiflexion of the ankle (hinge joint)

*Internal rotation of the hip joint (ball and socket joint)

*Adduction of the shoulder joint (ball and socket joint


Back: Eccentric Contraction of spinal extensors, erector spinae and rhomboids, engagement of the rectus abdominis acts as a stabilizer

Upper leg: Contraction of the gluteus maximus to lift and externally rotate the back leg, activation of quadriceps, synergist muscles are the hamstrings

Hip: Concentric Contraction of psoas and upper thigh pectineus

Lower leg: Eccentric Contraction of the quadriceps and gastrocnemius, synergist muscles are the hamstrings, iliotibial band to help stabilize the knee

Ankle: Eccentric contraction of the peroneus longus and brevis muscles along the outside of the tibia and tibialis anterior press the inside of the sole of the foot to the floor.



SATYA Teacher Training Manual - Yoga Loft 2017 Anatomy and Physiology Teacher Training

Chapter 2 Unit 6 and Unit 7

Long, Ray (2006) The Key Muscles of Yoga. Bandha Yoga Publications LLC

YogaAnatomy.com (2018) Virabhadrasana. Green Tea Productions. Retrieved from

https:// Yogaanatomy.net/virabhadrasana

Sander, Summer (Dec. 29, 2017) ZLiving Newsletter Yoga Poses: Warrior I, Warrior II, and Warrior III (Virabhadrasana)/ Tips, Benefits, and Follow-up Poses


Mishler, Adriene ( April 23, 2014 ) Yogawithadriene.com Warrior III- Foundations of Yoga https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuETB2HA2FM