Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3)

Type: Standing balance
Level: Intermediate

From high lunge activate the core and on an exhale fold from the hips to lower the torso and arms so that they are at around a 45 degree angle from the floor. Focus on a point on the floor just in front of your mat. On an inhale root down through the front foot and begin to shift the weight forwards, slowly lifting the back foot from the floor. The toes of the back foot point down to the floor and the hips are level. Extend outwards with the raised foot and arms.

Stay in the pose for about five breaths and come out on an exhale by bending the standing leg as you lift the torso and lower the raised leg with control back into high lunge. Inhale and step forward into mountain. Repeat on the other side.

Props & Assistance:

  • If keeping balance is difficult, you could rest the hands on a chair in front of you or to the ground.
  • The standing leg could be bent to release hamstrings or reach the ground or chair.
  • The full pose results in the legs at 90 degrees but if this is difficult for the balance, the raised leg can be lowered close to the ground


  • Arms to sides, in front, out to sides, prayer or reversed prayer
  • Fingertips may reach the ground/chair for a supported variation

Preparatory poses:
To do this pose you need to be open in the calves, knees, hips, feet and shoulders. Poses which help are as follows:

  • Low lunge
  • High lunge
  • Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
  • Mountain
  • Warrior II
  • Tree

You also need strength and stability in the feet muscles, knees, back, abdominals, hips, legs and elbows. Poses that can help with this include:

  • Low lunge
  • Half forward bend
  • Down dog
  • High lunge
  • Cobra
  • Cat
  • Eagle
  • Warrior I
  • Plank
  • Extended hand to big toe pose
  • Pyramid
  • Tree
  • Chair

Other poses that are good preparation poses for Warrior III include:

  • Half moon
  • Reclining Hero
  • Wide legged forward bend
  • Hero

Follow up poses:
This pose is usually performed as part of the standing pose sequence. Good follow up poses can include:

  • High lunge
  • Mountain
  • King Pigeon
  • Plow
  • Monkey
  • Boat
  • Headstand
  • Chair
  • Do not transition straight into Half-moon, come back up and then go into it to get the right angle with hip.

This pose prepares you for:

  • Revolved half moon
  • Revolved extended hand to big toe
  • Dancer
  • Handstand

Counter poses include:

  • Eagle
  • Garland
  • Childs
  • Reclining butterfly


  • Strengthens the ankles and legs
  • Strengthens the shoulders and muscles of the back
  • Tones the abdomen
  • Improves balance and posture


  • High blood pressure
  • If you are thinking of starting yoga and have a medical condition, it is advisable to check with your doctor.

Written by Sarah Williams. Sarah is a Qualified Yoga Teacher based in London with an online presence on Instagram and Facebook. She also blogs about yoga and health & well being topics on her website. Sarah’s focus is Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga styles of yoga and she completed part of her yoga teacher training in Goa. https://sarahlucyyoga.wixsite.com/yoga, @sarahlucyyoga

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