In YOGA

How many different ways can you do a single pose? Ask Warrior 3.

Warrior 3 pose is a fairly basic standing, balancing pose. It’s a great pose for building overall strength and stability. Specifically, warrior 3 pose is great for core and leg stability, as well as strength for your legs and glutes.

Warrior 3 pose is also easy to modify or adapt based on your needs.

Do you struggle with balance?

Add a chair or put your lifted foot against a wall.

Want to build more strength?

Add some hand weights.

Warrior 3 pose is also a great pose to build the foundation of other, more challenging poses. Inversions like handstand or headstand begin with warrior 3. Similarly, if you want to get better at Hanuman, aka “the splits”, warrior 3 is one of the best places to start.

What I love most about warrior 3 is that it’s a fantastic transitional pose in sequences or flows. Most balancing poses are awesome transitional poses because they MOVE. Lots of people tend to think that that point of a balancing pose is finding stillness, but that’s not really the case.

Balancing poses are inherently movement-oriented. Balance is the point, which means movement is necessary. 

Without the wobble, there is no balance.

When I was a younger yogi, I didn’t like warrior 3. I struggled with holding the pose for any length of time. My core would collapse and my back would hurt.  Or I’d just get bored. 

Plus, in the system of yoga I grew up in as a student and a teacher, there were very explicit rules about “how to do warrior 3.” Your back leg was lifted and perfectly in line with your hips, core, arms, and head. While you could change the position of your arms, you could not change the position of your back leg or foot, which had to be turned in toward your body and down toward the floor.

There was little to no variation in how to do the pose and there were only a few ways we were instructed to get into or out of it.

It was restrictive and unfun. And I practiced it that way and taught it like that for years because it’s what I knew.

Now I know better.

When I practice warrior 3 now, my question is always, “what am I doing in my practice today and what do I need to support that?”

My classes always ask the same question, too.

The idea is that there are so many different reasons you could practice warrior 3, so which one do you need most right now?

This is part of why I spend an entire month focusing on a single pose in my online studio, MOVE with Naomi and MOVE 15. When I used to take yoga classes at yoga studios, I’d notice that often I might see certain poses a lot, but others I’d only see once in a blue moon. I also tended to see the same transitions, no matter what pose we were building to. 

Warrior 1 to warrior 2 to side angle to triangle to half moon.

There is nothing wrong with this flow. It’s perfectly fine.

It’s also kind of boring if you do that same sequence every single time.

Also, that sequence is great at prepping your body for some things, but not for everything.

And honestly, variety is just as beneficial to your body as consistency, at least when it comes to movement.

If you only move your body in certain ways — or in and out of poses in certain ways — your body will be trained to move in that way and not in others. Your body craves diversity. Diversity is healthy.

To keep the spark alive for your body and your practice, you have to challenge your body to move in different ways. 

What if, instead of transitioning from warrior 1 into warrior 3, you transitioned from warrior 2 to warrior 3?

Have you ever tried squats in warrior 3?

What about going from table pose with a leg lifted into warrior 3?

Or maybe crow pose to warrior 3?

There are so many ways to play and explore when it comes to movement.

This how I keep my practice fresh and my teaching inspired.

And what was once one of my least favorite poses is a go-to for me when it comes to healthy movement for my core, legs, and hips.

If you need a few ideas for spicing up your warrior 3 pose and your movement practice, you can check out my newest video on YouTube, which is totally free. I show 5 ways you can spice up your warrior 3 pose and reinvigorate your yoga practice.

And if you want a little more inspiration, join me all month long in my online yoga studio. Every class will feature a new, innovative and interesting way to play in warrior 3 pose.

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