In Warrior 3 (Virabhadrasana 3) you balance on one foot while reaching your other leg behind you. You can reach your arms back or forwards.
You can also do it with your supporting knee bent (easier) or straight (a stretch for the hamstrings.)
I like to do warrior 3 with the spine bent backwards as much as possible. (Mainly Lumbar spine and thoracic spine.) This helps to strengthen the spinal erectors. At the same time, if you tilt you pelvis forwards then you can lift your lifted leg higher.
Try to keep your back knee pointing downwards and your pelvis level from left to right. To make these actions easier, focus on feeling your leg, pelvis and spine.
Balancing on one foot is easier if you first activate your standing foot and if you shift your weight forwards enough so that you toes press down. You can then use your toes to help you to balance.
If you find that your standing leg is wobbly you may find it helpful to press the inner thigh of your standing leg forwards while keeping your knee pointing straight ahead.
When first trying this posture I'd suggest keeping your standing knee bent. Lift your other leg and prior to reaching it back bend your spine backwards. Your pelvis will tilt forwards at the same time. Keep your spine bent backwards and tilt your pelvis forward enough so that your upper body is horizontal.
Keep your lifted knee bent and your arms reaching back for now. Pay attention to your supporting foot. As you reach your leg back keep your weight near the front of your supporting foot so that you toes continue to press down.
To create length or space in this pose reach your ribs forwards, away from your pelvis. Reach your head away from your ribcage. You can also focus on opening the spaces between your ribs.
With your spine long reach your arms back. Straighten your elbows and your fingers. Move your shoulder blades towards each other. (Use your rhomboids to do this.)
To make your leg feel long, Reach your lifted knee back, away from it's hip joint. Reach back through your toes as well.
Alignment instructions help you to improve your body awareness and control by giving you precise guidelines to work toward. Know what you are trying to do so you can recognize both when you are there and when you can't get there.
In the case of warrior 3 those guidelines include making your pelvis level (from left to right) and keeping your back knee pointing down.
You may find it easier to point your back knee down if you allow your outer thigh to relax down while pulling up on the inside of your knee.
Once you are stable with your arms reaching back you can try and reach your arms forwards. Lengthen you neck prior to doing so (pull the back of your head away from your ribcage. As you reach your arms forwards, pay attention to your supporting foot and keep your weight over the same part of your foot.
If you look at the pictures you'll see that my pelvis is tilted forwards almost 90 degrees to my standing leg.
Warrior 3 is like a forward bend for the standing leg. So as you straighten your standing leg you'll probably notice a stretch at the back of your thigh. Because of this, if you do straighten your standing leg, do it slowly, gradually, or leave it bent.
If you want to strengthen your standing leg in warrior 3 you can try bending your knee more. See how low you can go. Stay aware of your knee as you do this and stop if you notice pain in your knee.
To help preven injury shape or activate your standing foot so that your heel bones are stacked, inner arches lifted and base of little and big toes both press down. Also, if you reach your arm forwards you'll probably notice that this causes your standing knee to move back, so you may find bending the knee is easier if you keep your arms forwards while doing so.
Once you are comfortable in warrior 3 you can practice shifting your weight. Try moving your weight over the front of your foot so that your forefoot and toes press down. You can then lift your heel.
Then try shifting your weight over your heel. In this position you'll be hard pressed to use your toes and so you'll have to concentrate on keeping your center over your heel.
Generally, the stiffer you keep your body in warrior 3 (and in any other balancing posture) the easier it will be to balance.
Note that as well as being a balance pose, this could also be thought of as a back strengthening yoga pose as well as a forward bend.
Inspired by Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains, sequenced muscle activation provides a framework for anchoring muscle trains for maximum effect with minimum effort.
I get pain in my left hip in standing forward bends and even squats. Here are some of the exercises that I've used to make my hip feel better.
I've added part 2 to the description of this routine. Parts 3 and 4 to come (the videos are already on youtube.
This routine, with accompanying videos, includes knee strengthening exercises as well as exercises for basic strengthening, improving stability and balance. It also helps you to improve body awareness.
My latest video, some tips for getting comfortable in the deep squat. And suggestions for shifting weight to one leg while in a deep squat.
The seated get up is a way of getting into the one legged squat from a seated position. Even if you aren't interested in one leg squats this video does include tips on stabilizing the knees (at about the 5 minute mark.) Usual muscle activations for knee stability might include the quads, the hamstrings or any of the glutes. This looks at another set of muscles all together. If you like the video or find it helpful, please do share it! Thanks!
Some tips for learning how to do deep squats (without weight). The first tip is on how to stay balanced while squatting.
How do you learn the body weight safely? How do you work towards this pose even if you aren't sure if you are capable of doing it.
Basic yoga poses: standing, sitting, arm balances, binds, twists, inversions, back bending, front bends.
Scapular stabilization becomes a little bit harder when working agains the weight of the body. It can be easier to learn if you gradually increase the amount of body weight the scapular stabilizer muscles are working againsts..
Some hip flexor strengthening exercises.
These yoga poses can be used as arm strengthening exercises.
Turn yoga poses into leg strengthening exercises using floor pressing actions, leverage and friction.
One way of finding and fixing hip problems is to do standing hip strengthening exercises while balancing on one leg.
Knee anatomy for yoga teachers looks at the bones and muscles that comprise the back of the knee in simple terms.
Working towards a kneeling quadriceps stretch you first need to be able to kneel. If you have difficulty kneeling, you may find it helps to activate your quadriceps.
Some exercises and yoga poses for working towards a lying quadriceps stretch one leg at a time.
When doing quadriceps stretching it may help to activate and then relax your quadriceps in these standing, lunging, pigeon and supine yoga pose variations.
What are the benefits of the Dance of Shiva? Arm strength and balance, learning to learn and improving creativity.
This yoga routine video is designed to help you strengthen your arms and legs via the use of friction and pressure. It also teaches you how to become more aware of your body.