The beautiful anatomy activation in Virabhadrasana III pose

Virabhadrasana III in Sanskrit, also known as Warrior 3, is named after the fierce warrior, Virabhadra. It is an intermediate balancing pose in yoga with dynamic standing posture. It requires a lot of focus to maintain a deliberate balance and all the muscles throughout the entire body such as the core, arms and legs need to be integrated together to stabilize in this pose. You can improve strength, stretch, stability, and concentration as you practice Warrior III pose. Let’s find out what is the magic that Virabhadrasana III pose impacts on your little muscles.

Pose type: Standing, Level: Intermediate, Target: Full Body

Chakras: Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra), Sacral Chakra (Swadisthana Chakra), Root Chakra (Muladhara Chakra)

Illustration of Warrior III pose from Science of Yoga book by Ann Swanson

As illustrated in the above picture, when Warrior III is practiced, almost the whole physical anatomy is activated with a lot of engaging and stretching.


Lifted Leg

Concentric contraction (neutral hip extension and rotation)

  • Hamstrings, addcutor magnus, gletus maximus

Standing Leg

Concentric contraction (neutral knee extension and balance on single leg)

  • Articularis genu, quadriceps, intrinsic and extrinsic muscles of foot and lower leg

Eccentric contraction (hip flexion)

  • Hamstrings

Eccentric contraction (lateral shift of pelvis over standing foot for balance)

  • Gluteus medius and minimus, piriformis, superior and inferior gemellus

Upper body

Concentric contraction (rotation, abduction and elevation of scapula)

  • Upper trapezius, serratus anterior

Concentric contraction (stabilisation and shoulder joint flexion)

  • Rotator cuff, coracobranchialis, pectoralis major and minor, middle deltoid, biceps branchii

Concentric contraction (elbow extension)

  • Anconeus, triceps branchii


Concentric contraction (maintain spine alignment)

  • Intertransversarii, interspinalis, transversospinalis, erector spinae

Concentric contraction (prevent antierior tilt of pelvis and overextension of lumbar spine)

  • Psoas minor, abdominal muscles

Physical Benefits

  • Strengthen the shoulders and arms
  • Tone the abdomen
  • Strengthen hip flexors, glutes and legs

Health Benefits

  • Good for digestion as the core is contracted
  • Improve flexibility of the body
  • Better concentration, mindfulness and clear the mind due to the focus on balancing
  • Sharpen memory due to enhanced concentration power in long term
  • Improve postures


Warrior III is not suitable for practitioners who have the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure (For certain individuals, the pose’s abrupt increase in blood flow to the brain could lead to complications.)
  • Serious back issue, Spondylitis
  • Chronic leg, hip, back or shoulder injury
  • Pregnant


  • Yoga Anatomy by Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews
  • Science of Yoga by Ann Swanson