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Increase Your Hamstring Flexibility with Warrior III Modifications

By August 17, 2016Mobility and Yoga
Reading Time: 2 minutes
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Did you know when you do the warrior pose sequence in yoga that you’re reenacting the beheading of Shiva’s father-in-law? True story! But, lucky for us, this same sequence and its modifications turn out to also be amazing for helping our hamstring flexibility.

Today we’re focusing on the final part of the warrior sequence, known as warrior III or virabhadrasana III. This pose can be a challenging one for many people because of the range of motion it requires, especially when it comes to the hamstrings. In the video, I’m going to show you a couple warrior III modifications. You’ll learn how to use two different tools — a box and the wall — to increase your flexibility and work your way up to being a full-fledged warrior.

And by the way, if you don’t know the story that goes with the three warrior poses, check this out:

The myth is that the, the powerful priest Daksha made a great yagna (ritual sacrifice) but did not invited his youngest daughter Sati and her husband Shiva, the supreme ruler of the universe. But Sati found out and decided to go alone to the yagna. But when she arrived, Sati entered into an argument with her father. But unable to withstand the insults she spoke a vow to her father, “Since it was you who gave me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it.” She walked to the fire and threw herself into it. When Shiva heard of Sati’s death, he was devastated. He yanked out a lock his hair and beat it into the ground, where up rose a powerful Warrior. Shiva named this warrior, Virabhadra. Vira (hero) + Bhadra (friend) and ordered him to go to the yagna and destroy Daksha and all his guests.

  • Virabhadra’s first aspect, (Vīrabhadrāsana I) is his arrival, with swords in both hands, thrusting his way up through the earth from below.
  • In his second aspect, (Vīrabhadrāsana II) he sights his opponent, Daksha.
  • And in his third aspect (Vīrabhadrāsana III), moving swiftly and precisely, he decapitates Daksha’s with his sword.

Shiva then arrives at the yagna and sees the rout that Virabhadra had wrought, he picks up Virabhadra absorbing him back into his own form and transforming into Hare, the ravisher. Filled with sorrow and compassion Shiva finds Daksha’s body and giving it the head of a goat, brings him back to life. In the end Sati is also reborn.

If you found these warrior III modifications helpful, you might also enjoy some help with triangle pose and side-angle pose, so watch this video.

Photo “Lisa Johnson-3679 3” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ann Harkness.

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Brandon Hofer
After his first experience with a yoga DVD borrowed from the local library, Brandon was hooked. Combined with his discovery of kettlebells, he had finally found the perfect balance between strength training and yoga practice, and is more than happy to spread the word and help others discover the same foundation for living strong and enjoying more confidence and happiness.

Brandon is a personal trainer, yoga teacher, kettlebell enthusiast, father, husband, and defender of the Kaizen way of life and health. He lives in Beaverton, Oregon with his lovely wife Marisa and their two daughters, where he helps clients recover from weakness, injuries, surgeries, accidents, and chronic medical conditions by holistically blending various styles of kettlebell training, bodyweight exercises, yoga, along with meal plans that nourish and sustain you from the inside out. You can learn more by visiting his website, The Kaizen Way.