Virabhadrasana III aka Warrior Pose III

Aug/12/2021 / by KT Hall
warrior 3 pose
Image credits: Jade Stephens via Unsplash

Whether you are new to yoga or you find yourself an experienced yogi or yogini, one of the most beneficial balancing poses you’ll want to master is Warrior 3. It’s an energizing and hip-opening asana that can increase your focus, strength and determination.

Exploring Warrior 3

Virabhadrasana III (fierce warrior) is one of the Hindu deities Shiva’s incarnations and is often depicted as wearing the skin of a tiger and carrying a thousand clubs. He’s also described as having a thousand heads, feet and eyes. Hence, students may envision a ferocious warrior ready for battle. Beginners and even some advanced students might feel like Warrior 3 pose is hard to learn. It’s one of those balancing poses that’s very demanding and requires a great deal of focus.

Warrior 3 pose is one that you’ll want to only attempt with an experienced instructor to help you avoid injuries. Warrior 3 yoga pose falls into the category of balancing and standing assignments. It can increase your energy and power as you stand tall like a warrior. Aside from an energy boost, you’ll find that Warrior 3 is often used in different flow yoga sequences.

Teachers will sometimes add this curveball into balancing poses to help awaken their students’ curiosity about new poses. While one of the more demanding poses, novices might want to try a modification with Warrior 3 pose. Don’t hyperextend the get or lock the knee of your front leg as this can help to increase your stability. 

Warrior 3 can be done with a partner as a way to enhance your routine and for added support. Have the person stand directly opposite you. Then reach your arms forward and let them hold your hands at the wrists without pulling them.

As an arm variation, while holding this position, stretch your arms out to your sides as if you had the wings of an airplane. An alternative is to reach with your palms facing up near the sides of your stomach or back area.

Benefits of the pose

Warriors 3 yoga pose challenges your body and yet it’s beneficial because it’s an energy boost. One of the main reasons that you might want to add it to your sequences is that Warrior 3 yoga pose can decrease muscle stiffness, invigorate the joints and tone the body.

Different types of poses offer healing benefits and Warrior 3 doesn’t disappoint. Warrior 3 yoga pose strengthens the leg muscles and it can tone the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. Beneficial for increasing hip, shoulder and arm strength, holding this asana can also improve your posture and help you stand stronger. It’s the ideal pose for those who sit for long periods and for those who slouch and want to improve their posture.

Another benefit with Warrior 3 is correcting misalignments with the ankles and feet. Other incentives with this asana are that it provides energy, can help you to maintain your concentration and gain more mental clarity. Warrior 3 can also tighten and strengthen the stomach muscles and improve digestion as it tones and contracts the abdominal organs.

Warrior 3 as a Hip Opener

Warrior iii is a hip opening exercise and one of the more advanced postures that you can use in your routine. However, take caution with this type of pose as too much range of motion can actually work against you.

Sometimes with yoga moves like Warrior iii, there’s a tendency to overstretch or to open the hips. However, opening them too much can lead to aches and pains. An example is Padmasana Lotus Pose as you don’t want to over-exaggerate the moves and how you wrap your legs with that particular posture.

To ensure that you do Warrior iii correctly, focus on hip stability and proper posture with your standing leg. When standing on one leg, the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius are important stabilizers that you need for Warrior iii pose. As hip joint muscles, they work to keep the pelvis level. Hence, with standing poses like these, give yourself time to build muscles that can further support you.

What Muscles Does Warrior Pose Work?

With yoga warrior 3, several muscle groups work with this pose. They include the quadriceps, hips, chest muscles and abdominal muscles. Additionally, with Virabhadrasana, you are using muscles in the middle of your back, your hamstrings, legs and glutes.

As you work the muscle groups above while doing these types of yoga warrior 3 poses, you can improve your balance. Reducing muscle stiffness is another result as is increasing strength and stability with these sequences.

Tips to Help With Warrior 3

Poses like Virabhadrasana 3 include backward and forward bending movements. Hence, it’s better to transition gradually. Open up the hamstrings with Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) or the knees with Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog). That way you can prepare your body for the next asana.

As an example, an ideal way to warm up for Warrior 3 is to start with standing poses like Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) or Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog). With Virabhadrasana 3, it’s helpful to have a beginner’s mind. Meaning, don’t try to perfect the pose too quickly. It’s a mistake that some people make. However, overcoming instability is sometimes only achieved with more muscle toning which comes with practice.


Is Warrior 3 a Beginner Pose?

Yes and no. Warrior 3 might look hard for beginners. It’s a balancing pose that requires your full concentration. Hence, each time you practice this asana, envision a fierce warrior preparing for battle.

What are the Benefits of Warrior 3 Pose?

Warriors 3 is an energy boost that maximizes mental clarity and can reduce muscle and joint stiffness. It also invigorates the joints and tones the body. As a way to strengthen the leg muscles, it firms up the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shoulders and arms. Other benefits include that it can improve the posture and can correct misalignments in the feet. As it tightens the stomach muscles, it also aids in digestion.

Is Warrior 3 a Hip Opener?

Yes, Warrior 3 is a hip opening exercise. However, work with an experienced yogi or yogini. You want to avoid too much range of motion that can lead to injuries.

What is a Preparatory Pose for Warrior 3?

Try an asana like Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) to warm up the hamstrings. Or, go into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) for a gentle stretch to the legs and knees. Other options might include starting with Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) or Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog).


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