Virabhadrasana III – Warrior Pose 3 strengthens the legs and abdominal muscles. Just like all balance postures it also helps to focus the mind. A fixed gaze will make you more stable. Create a mental line of energy that runs along the back side of the body. Use this to lengthen the heel of the raised leg to the fingertips.
1. From the lunge position of warrior pose 1, with arms extended and gaze upward, extend through the fingers and stretch this spine upward. As you exhale, fold that torso forward across the top of the right thigh so the back and arms are now parallel with the floor. Keep your chin tucked in and the back of the neck long.
2. As you inhale, gradually lift the left foot off the floor until the leg is fully extended behind you. Rotate the outer edge of the left thigh downward, so both hips remain level with the floor and the sacrum fairly flat.
3. Straighten the right leg, pressing strongly into the big toe and spreading the sole of the foot wide across the floor. Stay here for five breaths, extending the energy of the spine forward through the fingertips and backward through the raised leg at the same time. Feel the strength and balanced beauty of this powerful pose.
4. To release exhale as you lower the raised leg to the floor. Inhale as your arms and chest lift up into Warrior Pose 1. Straighten the right leg and lower the arms as you exhale, stepping the left foot to stand in Mountain Pose. Repeat on the other side.
Gaze: beyond the hands
In yoga we use a counter pose in a sequence; For example, a twist follows a backbend to “neutralise” the spine, or a forward bend follows a backbend to help lengthen the spine and calm the nervous system.