Warrior III Pose Sanskrit name: Virabhadrasana III (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)
Malasana is natural position which children often choose to sit in. In cultures where we habitually sit on chairs, the brain learns to set shorter muscle lengths in the legs and we stiffen up around the ankles knees and hips. It may take a little practice to reset a longer acceptable muscle length in the brain. Practice and things change.
class plan strip
Warrior III Pose - step by step
Step 1 From Mountain Pose, lower into Standing Forward Fold.
Step your left foot back into a high lunge position. So the right knee is bent.
Lower the midline of your trunk (from your pubic bone to your sternum) down onto the centre of the right thigh (from your knee to your hip crease).
Bring your hands to your right knee - right hand to the outer knee, left hand to the inner. Squeeze the knee with your hands, lift your torso slightly.
Step 2 Now from the lunge position, stretch your arms forward, parallel to the floor and parallel to each other, with the palms facing.
Press the head of the right thighbone back. Press the heel actively into the floor.
Now start to straighten the front leg as you lift the back leg.
As you lift the back leg, resist by pressing the tailbone into the pelvis.
Step 3 Energize the back leg and extend it strongly toward the wall behind you. Reach just as actively in the opposite direction with the arms.
Bring the head up slightly and look forward, but try not to compress the back of your neck - keep the back of the neck long.
Step 4 Stay in this position for 30 seconds to a minute.
Release back to the lunge on an exhalation.
Bring your hands to the floor on either side of the right foot, and on an exhalation, step your left foot forward to meet your right.
Stay in this forward bend for a few breaths, then repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
Refines balance and posture
Challenges the ankles, knees and hips
Engages the shoulders and muscles of the back
Stimulates the abdomen
Be active in the supporting foot, to help find stability in the balance.
Keep a slight bend in your supporting knee.
Sometimes people come up into Virabhadrasana III by lunging the torso forward. This tends to shift the body weight onto the ball of the front foot and unbalance you. If you notice this is happening, try to hold back. Instead, as you straighten the supporting knee, think of pressing the head of the thighbone back to anchor the movement. This centres the head of the femur in the hip joint, grounds the heel into the floor, and stabilizes the position.
The arms, torso, and raised leg should be positioned relatively parallel to the floor. Often, the pelvis tends to tilt up with the raised leg. If you find that happening, release the hip of the raised leg down toward the floor, until the two hip joints are the same distance from the floor.
When you straighten the front knee by pushing the head of the thighbone back, imagine that the supporting calf is pressing forward against the shin in resistance. These two opposing movements prevent the knee from locking or hyperextending and help to stabilize the position.
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.
For a greater challenge, you 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.
High blood pressure If lowering the head in relation to the heart makes you feel uncomfortable, you could practice standing upright on the supporting leg, and extending the raised leg backwards slightly, without hinging forward at the hip.
Wobbliness You stand facing a wall and press the hands into it for support. Or stand beside a wall and take one hand to the wall for support.
With two of you...
A friend can act as a support for your pose. Have her stand in front of you. When you reach your arms forward just before lifting into the full pose, she can grasp your wrists in her hands. Then she can help guide you into position, without pulling. And then support your wrists as lightly as possible.
Follow up Poses
Open level humanist yoga classes in Milton Keynes
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