Asana of the Month: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. – Asana Girl (aka Danielle Polen)

Kelly Golden, yoga teacher and assistant editor at yogabasics.com, writes the following about supta virasana:

“Supta Virasana is easily one of the most avoided asanas in western yoga today. Even though B.K.S. Iyengar touts it as incredibly healing for the knees and a curative for flat feet, many find it painful. It is considered an intermediate level asana in fully reclined position, a more intense variation of its milder yet also-often-avoided foundation pose, Virasana. Virasana is Hero’s Pose–a pose meant to emulate courageousness and valor. It elongates and aligns our spine and creates space in our torso, which make it an excellent posture for pranayama and meditation. When we lie back in Supta Virasana, we fully expose and expand our front body. In this way, we ‘reset’ our habitual forward rounding, allowing our courage to lead us into the very exposed space of full openness. In addition to being physically challenging, the emotions that surface as a result of opening our front body in this way can be intense. … Approach Supta Virasana with an openness to what arises and with compassion and sensitivity, and you will begin to counter your daily onslaught of stress and strain with an experience of expansion and release. In doing so, you will simultaneously create more space for your breath to support you, more length on your spine, and slowly but surely an open heart.”

Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero’s Pose):
Supta = lying down, reclining
Vira = man, hero, chief

Benefits:

  • Stretches the abdomen, thighs and deep hip flexors (psoas), knees, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arches
  • Relieves tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Can help relieve the symptoms of menstrual discomfort

Cautions/Contraindications:

  • Forego this pose if you have any serious back, knee, or ankle problems

Preparatory Poses:

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Virasana (Hero’s Pose)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
  • Gomukhasana (Cowface Pose)
  • Yin Yoga’s Saddle Pose

Song that Most Comes to Mind While Moving into the Posture:

Red Hot Chili Peppers’: “Taste the Pain

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