virabhadrasana III for april

pose_warrior3Our Zamasana of the Month for April 2014 is Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III).

This variation of the warrior postures is a standing balance that aids focus and posture, and strengthens legs, ankles, shoulders and back muscles as well as toning the abdomen. This invigorating pose sees us leaning forward and embracing our future, while staying grounded and focused in the present.

Virabhadra is the name the warrior incarnation of Shiva. Virabhadra has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet, and wields a thousand clubs and wears a tiger’s skin. Virabhadra is a fierce warrior, and when we practice warrior postures, we are drawing on this strength and determination.

  1. Begin in Tadasana.
  2. Firm the core muscles, engage the pelvic floor, lift the leg muscles and ground through the feet.
  3. Align your hips and shoulders to the front of the mat.
  4. With an inhalation, extend your arms either out to the side or above your head, meeting the palms together.
  5. On an exhalation, keeping your body firm, hinge from the hips, lifting one leg off the floor, bringing the lifted leg and torso perpendicular to your standing leg. If this is too difficult, take the leg that will lift slightly backwards, bend the knee that will remain on the floor and use this as a spring to lift you up.
  6. Keep your hips and shoulders parallel to the floor, pulling up through the muscles of your standing leg, lengthen your torso, spine and legs. If the posture is too strong, place the hands on the wall.
  7. Set your drishti (eye gaze) to the floor to aid balance and help develop ekagraga (single-pointed focus).
  8. Breathe mindfully in the posture for five to ten breaths.
  9. To exit, take an inhalation, then exhale, holding the core tight, hinge the hips to draw the leg back in line and stack the torso over the hips, lowering the arms, coming back to Tadasana.
  10. Rest then repeat on the opposite side.