Hero Pose

Yoga Poses

Hero Pose Virasana

Steps

Begin in a kneeling pose. Sit back, lowering the buttocks to the ground and between the legs. Place the hands on the knees, palms down. Bring the spine and back upright, chin level with the floor. Close the eyes and relax the arms. Breathe normally using the nose, focusing attention of the inhale and exhale of air for 5minutes or longer. To exit the pose, open the eyes and bring the hands to the floor. Push up into a hands and knees pose. Stretch the legs back one at a time before returning to the start position.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

This is a meditation pose with many physical, spiritual and health benefits. Invite students to close their eyes, focusing attention on the breath, the inhaling of air into and out of the nostrils. When practiced for 100 breaths, this pose is said to enhance digestion and bring tranquility to the mind. You have two good options here. Take your students through a guided body scan, visualising the different parts of the digestive system. Alternatively you might ask them to count the breaths, as in a breathing meditation. These exercises are best completed at end of the practice.

Technical Comments

In the start kneel position, the knees are together, with toes touching and heels apart. The front of the feet will be flat on the ground. When lowering the buttocks down to the ground, place hands on the calves, rolling the flesh away from the knee crease. When buttocks are touching the ground, tilt forward and move flesh to sides, so that seat is balanced evenly on both sit bones. The heels of the feet should be next to the hips.

Benefit Comments

  • Improves digestion (relieves symptoms for ailments such as peptic ulcers, hyperacidity, hemorrhoids)
  • Strengthens pelvic muscles
  • Prevents hernia and sciatica
  • Improves circulation and flow of blood to genitals, improving reproductive and sexual functions
  • Relieves menstrual disorders
  • Stretches and strengthens muscles and tendons around ankles and knees

Watch Out For:

  • Knee pain (exit the pose and/or use modifications below)
  • Foot cramps or ankle pain (return to kneel position, stretch leg and foot back before returning to pose)
  • Hips in the air or slumped to side (Use blocks to support pose)

Contraindications

  • Knee injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pregnancy

Modifications

  • For stiff knees, tight hips and pregnancy, place blocks under buttocks
  • For knee injury and pregnancy practice meditation in seated crossed legs

Variations

  • Reclining heroes pose (Supta Vajrasana).  Place hands beside hips, lower spine to ground or bolster
  • Intoxicating bliss pose (Ananda Madirasana) Begin in heroes pose. Place hands on heels instead of knees. Focus is on breath and third eye
  • Gracious pose (Bhadrasana) Begin in heroes pose. Separate knees, allowing buttocks and perineum to rest on ground. Focus is on breath and nose tip (drishti)

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
  • Cobra (Bhujangasana)
  • Cat-cow (Marjayasana)
  • Seated forward bend (Paschimottasana)

Written By: Brenda Hamlet

Brenda Hamlet, is teacher and journalist in Oxford, England. More information about Brenda can be found at www.pret-a-yoga.com

Return to Yoga Pose Directory