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Warrior III Variations

Hey hey readers! Welcome back if you are a returning reader and welcome if you are new. I am so glad you are here. In this month's blog post, I go over different ways to express, or embody, virabhadrasana III (pronounced "veeruh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh"), or more commonly known as warrior III. Warrior III is one of my favorite yoga poses to practice on its own or sequenced within a flow. I teach this pose a lot in my yoga classes and private sessions. There are numerous ways in which to execute warrior III, just as there are with any asana, or yoga pose.

Why Do I Love This Pose So Much?

Warrior III is an asymmetrical, standing, balance pose, which makes it excellent for improving overall standing and walking balance. Balance poses help to improve stability, strength, and mobility of the leg, hips, and core musculature, decreasing your risks for falls and all the potential injuries therein.

In warrior III, one leg is stationary on the ground, and this is the leg in which stability is built. The other leg is lifted straight behind you, and this is the leg in which strength and mobility are targeted. The core muscles also engage to help keep you stable and steady, improving the stabilization function of that anatomical area.

As is true for any yoga pose, there is really no right or wrong way in which to embody the pose itself. Sure there are some basic biomechanical "norms" for each pose to ensure maximum benefit and safety, but outside of this, each yoga pose should be a unique expression of YOU and what YOU need on a given day. Warrior III is no exception to this rule. So, read on to find out some possible ways in which to embody this amazing yoga pose. And please note, these ideas are just from my personal practice and are not the only ways in which to express warrior III.

Warrior III Variations

One way to vary warrior III is to change the position of your arms and hands. You could put your hands in anjali mudra (aka "prayer hands") at your heart center (first photo). This variation is a little "sweeter," meaning that it can feel somewhat easier for the body since you effectively reduce the lever length of your body by bringing your hands close to your torso. You could also reach the arms behind you (second photo), which also reduces the lever length of your body, making this variation a little "sweeter" as well. For a "spicier," or more challenging, variation, you could also reach your arms straight forward (third photo), which increases the lever length of your body. Another "spicier" variation is to reach your arms out to the side (not pictured), like a letter "T," and if you really want to "spice up" your warrior III, you could play with rotating your torso and "T arms" left and right.

Another way to vary warrior III is to use props or support, such as a chair (first photo), bench (second photo), countertop, or wall (not pictured). Adding a support structure under your hands can significantly help with your balance, and it can allow you to go deeper into the pose than you would otherwise go without a support structure. You can also reduce the range of the lifted leg, not lifting it as high as the "traditional" pose calls for, and this variation can be done with or without support under your hands (third photo).

Finally, another way to vary warrior III expression is to play with flowing in and out of warrior III to another pose, like crane pose, high lunge, or even tree pose (not pictured). Flowing in/out of warrior III targets dynamic balance of your hip, legs, and core, which is really important for maintaining balance during activities of daily living, such as walking or doing chores.


Thanks so much for reading this post! Warrior III is an asymmetrical, standing, balance pose, and it is one of my most favorite yoga poses. This pose is excellent for improving both static and dynamic balance of the hips, legs, and core, which can improve overall movement and posture in your body. There are so many ways to express warrior III, such as changing the position of your arms, your lifted leg, or even using support under your hands. The best warrior III that you can do is whatever feels most natural and authentic to YOUR body. As I always say in my yoga classes, there is no right or wrong in yoga, as long as you are honoring what is true for you in that moment. Get curious, explore, and play around with some of these warrior III variations, and maybe you will even come up with some of your own variations. Thanks so much for reading this blog! See you next month!

As always, the information presented in this blog post is derived from my own study of human movement, anatomy and physiology, and yoga. If you have questions about warrior III for your body, please follow up with your physician, physical therapist, or private yoga teacher. If you are interested in private yoga and/or personal training sessions with me, Jackie, email me at for more information about my services. Also, please subscribe to my website so you can receive my monthly newsletters (scroll to the bottom of the page where you can submit your email address). This will help keep you "in-the-know" about my latest blog releases and other helpful yoga and wellness information. Thanks for reading!

~Namaste, Jackie Allen, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, RYT-200, RCYT, NASM-CPT, NASM-CES, NASM-CNC

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