Head to Knee Pose
March 30, 2015
Heron Pose
March 29, 2015

Hero Pose

LEVEL

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Anatomy

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Pose Type

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Sanskrit

Virasana
(veer-AHS-anna)
vira = hero, chief, man

BENEFITS

  • Increases flexibility in the ankles, knees, and thighs
  • Strengthens the arches of the feet and ankles
  • Reduces swelling of the feet and legs during pregnancy
  • Relieves asthma and high blood pressure
  • Improves digestion
  • Promotes good posture

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Knee pain or injury
  • Ankle pain or injury
  • Heart problems
  • Headache

HOW TO

  1. Kneel on the floor with your inner knees and heels together. The tops of your feet should lay flat against the floor with the soles facing up.
  2. Keep your knees together and gently slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips. Exhale and sit down between your feet, bringing your buttocks onto the floor. If you cannot reach the ground, sit on a block or bolster placed between your feet.
  3. Ground down evenly through the tops of your feet. Ensure that all 10 toes are pointing toward the back of the room.
  4. Inhale and lengthen your spine by sitting up tall. Draw your shoulder blades away from your ears and widen through your chest. Lengthen your tailbone toward the ground.
  5. Rest your hands on your thighs with palms facing up or down.
  6. Hold this posture for five to 10 breaths, or move into Reclining Hero pose by lowering your back onto the floor.

MODIFY OR REPLACE

Alternatives:

Modifications:

  • If you cannot sit down between your feet, place a blanket or bolster beneath your sitting bones.
  • Use a prop, also, if there is too much pressure on your feet or knees.

SEQUENCING TIPS

Before:

After:

TEACHING CUES

  • Ensure that all 10 toes are pointing toward the back of the room and the tops of your feet are on the ground.
  • Sit up tall, reaching the crown of your head to the sky.
  • Check your knees! Make sure the inner knees stay together.

VARIATIONS

  • Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero pose)

WATCH OUT FOR

  • Buttocks unable to root on the floor
  • Feet under the buttocks
  • Turning the feet inward or outward