HOW TO: Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

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I have an absolute love/hate relationship with this pose.  I used to avoid it because it was not easy or fun for me.  Then when I started experiencing knee pain when running, I revisited this pose for relief.  Now I do it every night before bed, each time increasing the length of time I hold it to continue to push myself.  This is an intermediate pose, so see below for instructions/modifications if you’re not yet able to recline all the way back.

Instructions:
Begin in a kneeling position on your yoga mat, sitting on your heels.

Then separate your feet slightly wider than your hips and sit down between your feet.  This is Hero Pose.

You can stay here, or lean back onto your elbows.

Again, you can stay here or lower down onto your back.

Gently press your knees in towards each other.  Reach your arms overhead and take hold of opposite elbows.

Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute to begin.

To come out, use your elbows to come up and return to a kneeling position.

Modifications:
Place a folded blanket under the hips, knees and/or head

Instead of bringing your hands above your head, rest them alongside your body or on your upper thighs.

Keep one leg extended out in front and then repeat on the other side.

Benefits:
Stretches the front body, including the abdomen, knees, quads, hip flexors, chest and shoulders

Strengthens the knees, ankles and arches of the feet

Stretches the spine

Improves digestion

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