Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior, an incarnation of Shiva, described as having a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet; wielding a thousand clubs; and wearing a tiger’s skin.
Step by Step
Contraindications and Cautions
High blood pressure
Modifications and Props
Balancing in this pose can be very challenging for beginners. Prepare for the pose with a chair positioned in front of you, just a bit in front of your sticky mat (face the back of the chair toward you). When you stretch your arms forward (as described in step 3 above), take hold of the top of the chair. As you rise up into the full pose, push on and slide the chair away from you and use it to support your arms. Try to hold the chair as lightly as possible.
Deepen the Pose
Advanced students can enter Virabhadrasana III from Virabhadrasana I. Perform the Warrior I with the arms stretched upward. Exhale the front torso down onto the top of the forward leg. From here move into Virabhadrasana III as described in Step 3 above.
When you straighten the front knee by pushing the head of the thighbone back, imagine that the same-leg calf is resisting forward against the shin. These two opposing movements prevent the knee from locking or hyperextending and further stabilize the position.
Strengthens the ankles and legs
Strengthens the shoulders and muscles of the back
Tones the abdomen
Improves balance and posture
A partner can act as a support for your pose. Have him stand in front of you. When you reach your arms forward just before lifting into the full pose, he should grasp your wrists in his hands. He should guide you into position, not pull, and then support your wrists as lightly as possible.
In Virabhadrasana III you can vary the position of your arms. Try stretching the arms out to the sides, like the wings of an airplane, or reaching them back, palms facing up, along the sides of your torso.