Yoga for Runners: Pose of the Month- Warrior 3, Virabhadrasana III

by Sally Drake

Each month, I feature a yoga pose, breathing technique or guided meditation that is beneficial for runners. Yoga helps improve flexibility; increase strength; enhance balance and stability; provide stress relief, better breathing and faster recovery. Even just a few minutes of yoga added to your pre or post run routine will positively impact not just your athletic pursuits, but all areas of your life.

Yoga for Runners
Pose of the Month: Warrior 3, Virabhadrasana III

Standing balance poses are a great way for runners to build strength and enhance mental focus. Warrior III is a challenging but very effective pose to strengthen your legs, ankles and core while stretching the hamstrings and improving balance.

How To Practice: From a standing position at the top of your mat (mountain pose), press firmly into your left foot, hinge the torso forward and lift your right leg behind you. Think about keeping your hips square (your right hip will want to lift, try to keep it in line with the right), so that may mean a smaller lift with the leg as you begin to practice this pose. Over time, lift your leg higher eventually bringing it parallel with the mat. Keep your right foot flexed so the toes are pointing toward the floor. Think about a straight line from your crown to your lifted foot, keeping your spine long to avoid overarching the back.

There are several options for your arms–extend them behind you, bring your hands to prayer at your chest, or extend your arms in front of you (most challenging). I also encourage the use of blocks in this pose. Bringing your hands to blocks as you shift forward will provide stability as you build strength and confidence in the balance.

Hold the pose for several rounds of breath. Be sure to do the pose on both the right and left sides.

Tips: Keep your gaze steady, a strong drishti will help you balance. Don’t overextend the knee in your standing leg – a slight bend will help avoid strain in the joint. Remember – balance is not about perfect stillness. Shifting through the foot and ankle means you are building strength! Keep the mind calm and also have fun – if you fall out, try again!



Sally Drake has been a runner in the Capital District community for over twenty years. In May,

2023 she received her 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate from Styles Yoga at the Hot

Yoga Spot. Follow her on Instagram at @sdrakeyogi for more yoga inspiration.




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