Reclining Hero Pose
Caution: Supta Virasana, the reclining variation of Virasana, is an intermediate pose. DO NOT perform this pose unless you can sit your buttocks relatively easily on the floor between your feet.
supta = lying down, reclining
vira = man, hero, chief (compare Latin vir, “man,” the root of English words virile and virtue)
Step by Step
Perform Virasana. Exhale and lower your back torso toward the floor. First lean onto your hands, then your forearms and elbows. Once you are on your elbows, place your hands on the back of the pelvis and release your lower back and upper buttocks by spreading the flesh down toward the tailbone. Then finish reclining, either onto the floor or a support.
If your front ribs jut up sharply toward the ceiling, it’s a sign of tight groins, which pulls your front pelvis toward your knees and causes your belly and lower back to tense. Use your hands to press your front ribs down slightly and lift your pubis toward your navel. This should lengthen your lower back and lower it toward the floor. If it doesn’t, raise yourself onto a higher support. Then lay your arms and hands on the floor, angled about 45 degrees from the sides of your torso, palms up.
Sink the heads of the thighbones deep into the back of the hip sockets. It’s alright to lift your knees a little away from the floor to help soften your groins; in fact, you can raise your knees a few inches on a thickly folded blanket. You can also allow a little bit of space between your knees as long as your thighs remain parallel to each other. Do not, however, allow the knees to splay apart wider than your hips – this will cause strain on the hips and lower back.
To begin, stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Gradually extend your stay to 5 minutes. To come out, press your forearms against the floor and come onto your hands. Then use your hands to lift your torso into Virasana. As you come up, lead with your sternum, not your head or chin. Come out of Virasana in the recommended manner.
- Thighs and groins
- Shoulders (with the arms stretched overhead, see Deepen the Pose below)