Just One Pose: Warrior III

Our “Just One Pose” posts answer the question: “If I have time to do just one pose, what should it be?” If your time to do just one pose is right before or just after your workout, Warrior III is your answer.

Anne Wander, Christine Cotton, and Mimi O'Grady, all fast runners in their 50s
Anne Wander, Christine Cotton, and Mimi O’Grady, all fast runners in their 50s

Why

This pose strengthens your lower leg, thighs, hips, and core, while stretching your hamstrings. Practicing it dynamically—pulsing in and out with the breath—will warm up and loosen your hip and thigh, a good preparation for movement. (Such warmups are increasingly important as we age.) And holding the pose for several breaths after your workout will improve your balance and core strength, setting you up to perform even better in the next workout.

How

Shift your weight into one foot, lifting the other foot behind you while holding your body in a long line from your raised foot through your head. Work to keep your hips square—don’t let your top hip lift—and your spine long and supported by your core. If you’re feeling stiffer or wobbly, keep your back foot near or on the ground. If you’re feeling loose or steady, lower your chest and lift your back leg toward parallel with the floor.

Variations

For a dynamic warmup: connect the movement with your breath. Exhale to lift your leg and lower your chest; inhale to lift your chest and lower your leg. Repeat for 10–20 breaths on one side before doing the other.

For a core/balance challenge: come to Warrior III and hold for 5–15 breaths. To sweeten the pose, rest your hands on your hips or in prayer position. To add spice, spread your arms to a T, or stretch them overhead, creating a long line from your raised foot to your fingers. Switch sides.

—Sage

Published by

Sage Rountree

Sage Rountree is author of six books on yoga for athletes, most recently Everyday Yoga.

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