Warrior 3 Yoga Pose At the Wall: Variations with Props

Warrior 3 variation- practiced with props at the wall.

Article At A Glance

Warrior 3 pose is a challenging standing balance pose that many yoga practitioners skip over. Practicing different variations of the pose at the wall and with props helps cultivate the strength and balance needed for this pose. In addition, with the support of the wall, we can extend the posture’s duration, allowing us to expand our focus on the nuances of alignment. This article and bonus video explore several Warrior 3 pose variations with props.

Practicing Warrior 3, Virabhadrasana III, at the wall is a wonderful option to help strengthen our legs and stabilize ourselves. There are so many variations you can play with, but here, we’ll explore two basic stances. 

In the first variation, instead of the back leg floating in space, the wall becomes an ally, encouraging us to dynamically activate our leg muscles as we push the wall. The wall also serves as a vertical pillar of support and safety while we explore and deepen our alignment.

In addition, with the support of the wall, we can extend the duration of the posture, which allows us to expand our focus on the nuances of alignment.  

You might experiment with squaring your hips (if that is a variation you desire), micro alignment of the standing leg, or adjusting the relationship between your upper and lower body.

In the second variation, pressing our hands into the wall gives us the opportunity to engage our arms and upper body while the lower body is free to explore space and alignment.

Warrior 3 at the wall cultivates confidence and balance!

1. Warrior 3 Variation: Pressing the Foot Into the Wall

Warrior # with foot stabilized at the wall

  1. Start facing the wall.
  2. Measure the approximate distance for this pose by raising one of your legs up and pressing your foot flat onto the wall (Figure 1). 
  3. Remove your foot from the wall and join your feet together. From where you are standing, turn to face away from the wall.
  4. Like a seesaw, lean your torso forward into a horizontal position, and at the same time, lift one back leg up in the air level with your torso or a modified height within your range of motion and comfort level.
  5. Press your foot into the wall and straighten your leg with your toes pointing downward. If you cannot mostly straighten your leg, readjust your position.
  6. Actively push your foot into the wall behind you.
  7. Bring your hands to your waist (Figure 2) and then extend your arms alongside your body (Figure 3) if you desire.
  8. Try squaring your hip bones toward the floor, and then play with actively extending your back leg. 
  9. Now let the hip of your back leg lift slightly. Does this change your ability to actively stretch your back leg? If so, how?
  10. Drop your shoulders down away from your ears, and extend through the crown of your head.
  11. Gaze to the floor beneath you while you lengthen your neck.
  12. As you maintain the pose, contract your abdominal muscles toward your back as you exhale.
  13. Keep breathing as you intentionally elongate your body from your foot to the top of your head. 
  14. To exit the pose, carefully lower your back leg to the floor away from the wall, and return to a standing Mountain Pose.
  15. Feel your body. Notice sensations and the flow of energy.
  16. Repeat the instructions for the other leg.

Imagery for Alignment

If this pose tends to feel a bit heavy in the legs and lower body, imagine something light, like a feather or leaf, as you practice.

You can also imagine that your body forms an arrow, and the direction of the current is traveling from your foot toward your head and out into the space of the room.

“Home Play” Experiments: Explore and Deepen Your Warrior 3

Vary the position of your arms: out to the side like you are flying or overhead like a superperson. Notice the changes in sensations and the shifts in your ability to balance.

Precautions for Warrior 3 

Keep your knees and toes in alignment to prevent knee strain, especially in the standing leg. Slightly bend the knee of your standing leg if you feel discomfort or you have a tendency to hyperextend your knee joints.

Move slowly and consciously when attempting to press your foot into the wall.

2. Warrior 3 Variation: Hands Pressing the Wall

Warrior 3 practiced with hands pressing the wall

  1. Face the wall about the distance of one leg’s length.
  2. Like a seesaw, lean your torso forward into a horizontal position, and at the same time, lift your back leg to the level of your torso or to a level that is manageable for you.
  3. Activate your back leg as if you were pressing into the wall behind you.
  4. Extend your arms overhead as much as your shoulder flexibility permits, and press your hands into the wall.
  5. Spread your fingers with your index fingers pointing toward the ceiling or slightly outward.
  6. Try squaring your hip bones toward the floor, and then play with actively extending your back leg. 
  7. Now let the hip of your back leg lift slightly. Does this change your ability to actively stretch your back leg? If so, how?
  8. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and activate your upper back.
  9. Continue to contract your abdominal muscles toward your back on your exhalations.
  10. Gaze to the floor beneath you as you lengthen your neck.
  11. Push the wall and explore bending or extending your elbows.
  12. To exit the pose, return your back leg to a standing position as you release your arms to your sides.
  13. Delight in the aftereffects of this pose. Feel your whole body and become aware of how you feel.

3. Explore More Warrior 3 Variations with Props – Bonus Video 

 

The video features yoga teacher Kate Vigmostad.

Stephanie Ann Pappas is the author of Yoga at Your Wall, Yoga Posture Adjustments and Assisting, and Las Posturas de Yoga in Spanish. Her books are available on amazon.com and other online bookstores.

Stephanie has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1982. She has directed spiritually oriented yoga teacher trainings since 1998, and in 2002 she founded the Devalila Yoga teacher training school, a 200-hour registered program which as certified over 300 teachers.

 

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