Virabhadrasana 3 – Warrior 3
Warrior three is, in my opinion, the most fierce of the warrior poses. It’s an intense balancing pose, with severe lines. In warrior three, you are balancing on one leg as the rest of your body (other leg included) are parallel to the ground (ideally). A tendency in warrior three is to have the hip of your lifted leg higher than your standing leg hip. Another tendency is to round your upper back or collapse your lower back. It takes great leg and core strength, as well as stability to perform this pose with integrity.
This pose was so difficult for me when I started because I was a serial hyper-extender. I didn’t have the strength in my legs to balance with integrity. So when I was in a class where this pose was taught, I would lock out my leg (in a very unhealthy way) and collapse all of my weight into this unstable leg. I would be one of the people collapsing in my lower back. And finally, instead of my lifted leg hip being higher, it would be lower than my standing leg hip. If you can picture that, it is the definition of collapse in this pose. I was so challenged by this pose that I would cringe when it was taught. I told some of my teachers in private that I hated the pose because I wasn’t strong enough. A couple of my teachers taught it more to me because they would say, “The poses you hate the most are the ones you need to practice the most.”
I agree with that statement for the most part, but at that point, I was literally not strong enough to improve where I was in that pose. This is one of the instances where my encounter with crossfit helped SO much. After a mere few weeks at crossfit, learning the fundamentals of squatting with and without weights, strengthened my legs at least 100%. Warrior three will always be a challenge for me (and most people I believe), but now I can do it with great alignment and stability. My knees are safe in the pose and instead of looking and feeling like a collapsed pile of human, I can quite literally feel the flow of energy in this pose. Warrior three taught me to learn a lot about my body and forced me to grow stronger, that’s why I love it, but that’s always why it challenges me SO much!