Yoga Asana of the Week: Warrior 3 Pose

Extend the arms out and parallel to the floor.

So far I’ve shared yoga poses from the Washington mountains, my backyard and now finally THE BEACH! (You wonder what took me so long, living in Hawaii right?) Practicing yoga on the beach has a few incredible benefits.

  1. You will receive your vitamin D for the day (and work on the tan– but don’t forget sunscreen!)
  2. You can cool off after your practice by jumping straight into the ocean.
  3. Sand is much softer than a studio floor so you don’t need to worry about falling!

And falling is a definite possibility as we practice another balancing posture- Warrior 3 pose (Virabhadrasana 3).

Getting into the pose can be difficult, so we’ll  begin in Crescent Pose first. In Crescent Pose, we find foundation and grounding through the feet, while lengthening the side body and opening up the chest and collarbones.  Bend the back knee a little to lengthen the tailbone and neutralize the sacrum.

Begin in crescent pose- feeling strong in the legs and reaching the upper body towards the sky
Begin in crescent pose- feeling strong in the legs and reaching the upper body towards the sky

Press through the four corners of your standing foot to find balance and begin to shift your weight onto your front leg.  As you straighten the front leg, lift the back leg parallel to the floor and flex the toes down to activate the thigh. Bring the chest forward so that it is parallel to the ground.  The pelvis tends to want to tilt to one side in this pose (and it will be hard to recognize since you can’t see yourself!) Try taking your hands to your hip points and checking out their relationship to one another. Release the hip of the raised leg toward the floor a little until the hip points are even and parallel to the floor.  Bring your hands into anjali mudra (prayer) at your heart center and breathe.

Straighten the front leg while lifting the back leg and bring the chest and body parallel to the ground.
Straighten the front leg while lifting the back leg and bring the chest and body parallel to the ground.

When you are ready, begin to stretch your arms forward, parallel to the ground and facing each other.  Continue to energize the back leg by extending it strongly behind you while reaching actively with the arms in the opposite direction (towards the ocean if you are practicing on the beach ;)) Bring the head up slightly and look forward without compressing the back of your neck.

Extend the arms out and parallel to the floor.
Extend the arms out and parallel to the ground.

Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Release back to crescent lunge on an exhalation. Neutralize this pose by bringing the feet together in Uttanasana (forward fold).  Stay here for a few deep inhalations and exhalations before stepping back into crescent on the other leg, and soaring into Warrior 3 Pose!

Practicing this pose will help improve your balance and posture, strengthen the ankles, legs, and muscles of the back, and also tone the abdomen.  Try different arm variations like reaching them back or stretching them out to the side like airplane wings.  Whatever you do, always have fun with your practice and honor your body. (And if you’re afraid of falling, let the sand be your pillow.)


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About Leslie Schipper 21 Articles
Leslie is a free-spirited, wanderlusting yogini living a life of love and blessings. She feels extreme gratitude to call Hawaii home, surrounded by strong spirit and beauty. Her time is split between roaming the island's breathtaking mountain ranges, nurturing her healthy obsession with the sea and planning her next adventure. She completed her 200 hour teacher training from Open Space Yoga in Honolulu and is excited to share her passion and knowledge of the sacred tradition. Her ambition is to inspire, give thanks perpetually and continue globe trotting- sharing and spreading aloha and yoga wherever her feet find her.

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