Yoga Poses

Heron Pose Krounchasana

Steps

Heron Pose is a seated posture that requires a single leg to be extended into the air with the support of both arms. This posture lends to an incredible stretch to the hamstrings, as well as the other muscle groups across the legs. While mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, no directions for the posture are given. However, the name lends itself to the appearance of a Heron with the extended leg representing the outstretched neck of the Heron. Additionally, Heron pose benefits the abdominal organs.

From Dandasana (staff pose), begin by drawing your left leg into Ardha Virasana (half hero’s pose). Bending the right knee, allow your foot to rest on the ground. Exhale as you reach down with both hands to grasp the right foot. Inhale, lean back slightly into the seat keeping the torso long and avoid rounding the shoulders forward. With your next inhale, gently raise the right leg to at least a 45-degree angle from the floor. The leg can be lifted higher depending on hamstring flexibility. Hold Heron pose for 30 seconds to a full minute while breathing slowly. Gently release the right foot down to the ground. Allow the left leg to release back to Dandasana. Switch sides when ready.

Teacher Queues

Visualization Comments

When raising the leg think of seeking length throughout the body. Expanding with the extension from the top of the foot and the top of the head. Keep the seat firmly and evenly pressed into the ground.

Technical Comments

Before lifting the leg, draw the shoulder blades closer together to maintain the lift of the chest. Keep the gaze looking forward to avoiding strain on the neck.

Benefit Comments

  • Stimulates the abdominal organs and heart
  • Stretches the feet
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Stretches the knees
  • Strengthens the arches of the feet

Watch Out For:

  • Knee pain in Ardha Virasana
  • Lifting the gaze and straining the neck

Contraindications

  • Knee issues
  • Ankle issues

Modifications

  • If knee issues arise in the Ardha Virasana posture, sit instead in Janu Srisasana ( Head To Knee Pose)
  • A strap can be used around the foot if reaching for the foot is unavailable
  • The extended leg can be bent slightly if hamstring flexibility is poor

Variations

  • Add a Twist by placing the same side hand on the ground slightly behind the back and spinning the torso towards the extended leg

Yoga Counter Poses

  • Upward Facing Plank Pose – Purvottansana
  • Bound Angle Pose – Baddha Konasana

Written By: Bre Nourse

Bre is an RYT 500 yoga teacher and wellness writer. Find out more about Bre at www.brenourse.com

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