This month for my Patreon supporters I did an exclusive 60 minute yoga video focused around balance. Specifically warrior 3. As a balance pose warrior 3 can be a little tricky for a lot of people. To help, I wanted to do a supplemental piece of content around warrior 3 pose variations. Plus common mistakes in warrior 3, and how to fix them.
I try to provide video content for alignment related posts because I realize video is KEY now. Even for blog posts! Plus I’m really going “all-in” on video content. This week I reached a milestone of 2000 subscribers on YouTube! Check out the video on warrior 3 below, on on youTube. And, remember to like, comment and subscribe!
If you think Warrior 3 is hard to do, try doing it and talking and gesticulating where the energy flow is. I cannot tell you how many times I fell over during this video!
Warrior 3 Alignment Cues
As I said Warrior 3 is a balance pose. We can begin from a lot of positions, but stand on one leg, with the other leg out behind you. There should be a straight line from the crown of the head, to the heart, hips and back heel. A line of energy, or intention. This is already a Warrior 3 pose variation, a modification. Simply not coming deep, or forward, into the pose.
From the standing hip, hinge forward. Until the torso and back leg are parallel to the floor. The torso shouldn’t come lower, it’s not at inversion. Keep the head at the same height or higher than the heart.
Balance is a tricky thing. We can often find ourselves balancing perfectly fine on one leg but needing modifications on the other side. Move slowly with intention. Adding the arm position last.
Warrior 3 pose variations – Arms
Changing the position of the arms is one way to add some warrior 3 pose variations. Reaching forward is typical. But, you can reach out, airplane arms.
The arms can reach back. I like to call this streamlining. Or the hands could rest at the heart in Anjali Mudra – prayer position. Another fun variation is cactus, or eagle arms. Honestly you could do the YMCA for all the arms matter. Thinking about it… now THAT would be a balance challenge!
Warrior 3 modifications
If balance is an issue then try the warrior 3 pose variation on the floor. Lie on your back with one leg up, and one leg along the floor. This is a great modification for those “balance challenged”. Or, anyone looking to find the correct alignment.
If the leg in the air won’t straighten, or falls more towards the front of your mat, chances are when standing you’ll need to modify. Typically this means with blocks, or reducing the range of movement.
Another way to practice the balance is on hands and knees. I mean this is just warrior 3 from the knee up! Honestly, this is my favorite warm up position for ANY balance pose.
Warrior 3 with chair
If you’re doing good so far, time to take it to standing. With a little help from a chair. Or stool. Or anything really that will provide support. There are so many ways to use a chair, but here are two of my favorites. The first is purely support. Focus on alignment: Head, heart, hip and heel.
The next is to use the back of the chair resting the forearms on back rest. Practice lifting one arm at a time. Alternating. Then eventually, both.
Of course there are TONS of ways to use the wall as a Warrior 3 pose variation but that’s a whole other post waiting to happen. You could also use the wall in addition to any of the above variations!
2 Common Mistakes in Warrior 3
So let’s look at mistakes. The most common ones I see are people using blocks for support incorrectly. Or at least least not optimally. Below is the error of using one block. Please use two! Especially if, like me, ya got short T-Rex arms.
Left: You can see the break in that line of energy. Bum is lifted up and heel/head are down. Right: I stacked my blocks giving my torso more lift, and now I’m aligned!
Notice above I’m supporting on opposite arm to leg. There are two reasons for this. First is that often the torso starts to turn and Warrior 3 ends up becoming Half Moon pose!
To combat this if the left foot is planted into the floor, have the blocks under the right hand. This will also provide a wider more stable base of support. If you don’t believe me try it!
Warrior 3 can be a challenging pose. But given enough warm up, modification options and variations we can progress at our own pace. As long as we keep our ego’s in check!
- How’s your balance?
- Is your balance better on your right or left leg?
- Which variation of warrior 3 seems appealing to you?