Balancing Staff, Warrior 3
TULADANDASANA – VIRABHADRASANA 3
- Standing in Tadasana, raise your arms over your head, extending from the middle back and shoulder blades, (scapula), interlace your fingers, release your index finger, cross your thumbs and squeeze your palms flat.
- Step forward three feet with your right foot, arch your back (ideally the back should be straight, but arching the back is a drill to insure the back does not round).
- Point the toes of the left foot before it leaves the floor.
- Bring the upper body down and the right leg let up until your entire body is in one straight line parallel to the floor.
- Look through your arms not over them. Think of extending your chest forward to the front mirror and flattening your upper body.
- Keep the shoulders and hips parallel to the floor (you might need to drop your right hip down so that it is parallel to the left hip).
- Keep squeezing your palms together to better open the shoulders and deltoids. Keep the standing leg straight and the thigh muscle tight, supporting the knee.
- Stretch your body in opposite directions like strong rubber.
- Hold for twenty seconds both sets.
Balance is all about strength. Start by strengthening your standing leg. The standing leg is the foundation for the pose; it must be straight. However, do not hyperextend the knee, instead lift the thigh muscles and keep your weight toward the big toe mound. Next, pick out a spot on the floor at least eight feet in front of you. Do not look straight down! If you look down you will round your upper back, we want your upper back flat to complete the tee-shape. Keep most of your breath in your lungs (80%) the entire time for more strength and control.
Your mantra is: “Upper Body down and leg up”! Ninety per cent of the students I teach have to bring their upper bodies lower and their legs higher. Next time your in class exaggerate the mantra, let the teacher tell you your upper body’s too low and your leg’s too high 🙂
As soon as you step forward point the toes of your back leg, feel the back arching, (this will eliminate your upper back from rounding) and lower down keeping the back arched and toes pointed. The ideal position is a tee-shape, so don’t exaggerate the arch, it’s just a drill for keeping your upper body horizontal.
At this level there’s only one but very important correction to complete the position; lower the hip of your upper leg parallel with the other hip. Just isolate the hip area and rotate it down. If you’re properly aligned, you should be able to look at yourself in the mirror to see if you’re positioned correctly. Visualize touching the front wall with your chest, this will help to flatten the middle back as well.
Back in my day (walking ten miles through the snow to get to class in Beverly Hills) our hands were flat together not interlaced. Try it next time you’re in class, it changes everything, making it much more challenging. Don’t forget to keep those palms together!