Supta Virasana: Reclining Hero Pose

POSE: Reclining Hero Pose

SANSKRIT NAME: Supta Virasana

BENEFITS: Stretches the tops of the thighs and tops of the feet, opens the chest, relieves nausea, restorative

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HOW TO:
There are a couple ways to get into reclining hero pose. I prefer to come into it from savasana, lying on my back. From here, I bend one knee at a time, and use my hands to guide each foot back to my hips. Once I’m comfortable, I stretch the arms overhead and grasp opposite elbows.

You may also come into this pose from seated hero pose. Starting in a comfortable seated position, use the hands to guide each foot back to the hips. From here, slowly lower yourself onto your back. Once you’re comfortable, stretch the arms overhead and grasp opposite elbows. Hold for 10 deep breaths.

ALIGNMENT TIPS:

  • Be very mindful of the knees. If you experience pain, please opt for one of the modifications below.
  • There is an internal rotation of the hips in this pose, which allows the knees to bend this way. We are not rotating the knees.
  • Gently lift the chest for a slight backbend. There should be no lower back pain.
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RESTORATIVE YOGA MODIFICATIONS: Supta Virasana with props

BENEFITS: gentle, supports sensitive knees and backs

ALIGNMENT TIPS: 

  • Add a folded blanket under the hips to lessen the bend in the knees
  • Use a bolster or stack of pillows to create a reclining support – lessens intensity of the stretch
  • Try bending one knee and stretching one side at a time
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CHAIR YOGA MODIFICATION: Seated Supta Virasana

BENEFITS: For practitioners who may have sensitive knees that don’t respond to other prop options. For practitioners who are unable to get down to the floor.

HOW TO: Set up two flat-bottomed chairs, facing each other. Or you can use a bench. You can use a yoga block and bolster or pillows, whatever you have on hand, to create the reclining support. Sit facing the back of one of the chairs with one leg on either side. Ankles are directly below the knees. Slowly lower yourself back onto your supportive props. This restorative pose can be held for up to ten minutes, depending on your comfort.

 

If you’re ready to incorporate Supta Virasana into your yoga routine, check out this video...