HOW TO: Hero Pose (Virasana)

Hero Pose

Hero Pose is such a great pose to stretch and open the quads and knees, which are out through a lot of work each day! Recently I did a How To post for Reclined Hero Pose, but that pose should only be attempted if you can comfortably sit in Hero Pose.  This version is much more accessible, and can be even further adjusted to fit your body.  Remember you never want to stay in a pose that hurts, you may feel some slight discomfort or tension, but if it hurts or is too uncomfortable, slowly remove yourself from the pose and try something else, look for a modification, or just take a break.  This pose and the reclined version have been popping up quite frequently in my practice.  Early in the summer I started running again and hiking more and I got some serious knee pain in my left knee.  So I stopped running and decided to spend some time focusing on stretching and strengthening the muscles in my legs more.  I’m not really much of a runner so this wasn’t too hard for me! But this pose is great for those of you who are actual runners as it stretches the overworked quads and knees and also opens the hips.  Try it out and you will find some relief!

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

Separate your feet slightly wider than your hips and then sit down between your feet (you can sit on a folded blanket or yoga block to make this more accessible and comfortable)

Draw your navel in towards your spine and tuck your tailbone under slightly.  Keep a long spine and gaze forward.

Relax your shoulders and rest your hands on your thighs or in prayer at your heart’s center.

Remain in this pose for as long as is comfortable, but start slow if you are new to the pose and don’t push yourself too much.

To come out of the pose it is best to move slowly and come forward into Table Pose on your hands and knees.

Benefits:
Stretches the ankles, hips, thighs and feet

Imoroves digestion

Improves posture

Improves circulation and can provide relief for tired legs

Relaxes the mind and is a good pose for meditation

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