Dive Into the Details – How To Practice Warrior III Pose (Virabhadrasana III)

Expand and explore your yoga practice with master teacher Amy Caldwell of Yoga One.

Yoga is an experiential process. A regular practice can help you develop a better connection with yourself, others, and the present moment. Yoga can help reduce stress, anxiety, and bad habits. Yoga means union. At Yoga One we strive to connect mindfulness, breath, and action.

These step by step instructions will safely guide you into and out of this yoga pose. We offer precise alignment cues to cultivate conscientious movement and to keep you safe, so  you can refine and benefit from your practice and the subsequent understanding for a lifetime.

Throughout our internationally acclaimed Yoga One Teacher Training Course, we dive further into the details to inspire and assist those individuals looking to take their practice to the next level and for those wanting to share the joys and benefits of yoga with others.

Warrior III PoseWarrior III – Virabhadrasana III


  • Strengthening, especially for the abdominal, back, leg and gluteus muscles
  • Challenges and improves balance and coordination

Foundation and general alignment:

  • Standing foot: Three points of foot grounded.
  • Standing leg: Muscles engaged, including glutes. Kneecap lifted and tracking toward middle toe. Bend knee if needed – check engagement and tracking.
  • Lifted leg: Muscles engaged, the foot flexed or pointed (different effects).
  • Kneecap points downward towards the floor – inner thigh firm and lifted toward the sky.
  • Neutral pelvis (in all three planes). Firm outer hips.
  • Strong core.
  • Torso lengthens evenly on all sides.
  • Shoulder blades hug onto the back ribs – widen collarbones
  • Arms extend straight alongside the ears, palms facing one another
  • Ears are between the upper arms, face is parallel to the earth
  • From pelvis, expand out equally in all directions
  • This pose is Tadasana or Supta Padangusthasana done horizontally

Common problems and misalignments:

  • Most at risk: Standing leg knee and hip, lower back, neck
  • Weight imbalances at the base
  • Hyperextension / misalignment of the standing knee – OK to keep standing leg bent with lifted leg straight
  • Hip of lifted leg flares out to side with knee and foot turning out
  • Excessive curve in low back – lack of core engagement
  • Low back rounded with tailbone tucked
  • Upper back overly rounded
  • General lack of engagement to the midline

Contra-indications: Weakness, poor balance, knee problems, low back problems, balance issues, practice with caution if you have high blood pressure


  • Hands on the wall or chair (fingertips on two blocks)
  • Entry from Tadasana or Virabhadra 1
  • Bend standing leg. Easier to maintain muscular engagement and neutral pelvis
  • Teach shape of pose lying on back, bottom foot at wall or on all 4’s with one leg lifted

Variations: Arms out to the side, back, Anjali mudra, or hands on hips

Enhancements: In version with arms forward, face student, have them press forearms down onto adjuster’s arm and tone belly, or adjuster stands on standing leg side, hip to hip with student, then squeezes in hip of lifted leg hip for stability.

Prep posture: all fours, with one leg up – press shin down, adjuster resists, lift low belly to find neutral spine.

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