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Modify Virasana if needed to find safe alignment in your body.
If you experience pain in your knees …
Try supporting your buttocks with a block or blanket. Find the height of support that allows you to have a sense of stretching in your thighs and knees without any pain or sharp sensation. Gradually reduce the support over time to increase flexibility in your knees.
If the stretch in your ankles is too intense …
Try placing a rolled-up hand towel or thin blanket under the fronts of your ankles to lift them slightly. Play with the height of the roll to find the perfect amount of stretch for you.
If your feet cramp up …
Try kneeling on two bolsters laid horizontally and pressed together, so that your feet and buttocks hang off the back edge. Support your buttocks with a block. This takes pressure off your feet and also works to relieve ankle pain— and it can be combined with the knee-pain modification above.
Tip: Be Present
Most of us know the word karma. But perhaps fewer of us are familiar with the term krama, which means “order” or “sequence.” For instance, this Yogapedia column presents a krama, or a sequence of asanas, with each asana preparing us for the next one in the series. Keeping this in mind can intensify a practice and help us move as deeply as possible into each pose; it maximizes the benefits of each posture and transforms the asana from mere physical exercise into a vehicle for developing a more focused mind and a refined level of awareness. In other words, this approach turns your asana practice into a meditation in action.
About Our Pro
Teacher and model John Schumacher is the founder and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center, serving the Washington, DC, area since 1979. He studied with B.K.S. Iyengar for 33 years and was certified by him as an Advanced Teacher. In his 43 years of teaching, Schumacher has taught teachers and students worldwide. His clear, precise teaching style and engaging sense of humor challenge and inspire students to move beyond their imagined limits.