As we know, like personal growth, self acceptance is a process. A recent quote by Jillian Michaels reminded me that we so often define ourselves by how we look and not by how we feel, or the true nature of our being. She said, “You are not fat. You have fat. You have fingernails but you are not fingernails.” Maybe not the most poetic quote, but very profound. Needless to say, I let go of some fear of being criticized, and felt inspired to share a photo from a recent yoga teaching trip to Jamaica so I could share the basics of Warrior III.
Warrior III, or as is said in Sanskrit, Virabhadrasana (veer-a-bra-da-sana) III offers many benefits. In addition improving balance and posture, Warrior III helps to:
- strengthen the calves, glutes, thighs, ankles, shoulders and back.
- improve coordination.
- stretches the hamstrings.
- open up the chest
- open up the shoulders
- helps undo the effects of habitual rounding of the shoulders and back.
- build core strength which makes one less prone to back injuries
- calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
- stretch and stimulate the digestive organs, thereby improving digestion.
Now you know why you should do it, but how?
- Begin in Mountain Pose, or Tadasana.
- As you inhale step forward with the right foot.
- On your exhale, begin to hinge at your hips with a straight back, neck in neutral alignment with your spine, and your arms outstretched in front of you.
- Engage your lower abdominals by gently pulling up and in.
- As your torso gets closer to parallel with the floor, start to bring up your left leg behind you.
- Lengthen and engage both legs.
- Do not lock the knee of the standing leg
- Eventually your torso and leg will be close to parallel with the floor.
- Find your drishti, or focal point to help keep you balanced and focused.
- Attend to your breath and hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Lower the left leg back down and return to Tadasana.
- Repeat by stepping forward with the left leg, and bringing up the right leg.
- Smile! You just grew stronger, improved your balance and state of mind.
Remember to go at your own pace. Balancing poses can be frustrating and try our patience, but they also teach us about humility. We are not perfect. Nobody is. Don’t be afraid to fall. You can always try again!
- To make the pose less intense, do not lower the torso as close to parallel to the ground.
- Until balance grows, lift the back leg just slightly up. One may begin by simply resting the tiptoes of their back foot on the ground or with the leg just raised a few inches from the ground.
- Place a chair in front of you to hold onto with outstretched arms.
- Place a chair in back of you and rest your back foot on it to help keep the leg up and work on flexibility and balance.
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