A basic, seated posture, Virasana is excellent for meditation. Although it is also a wonderful pose for keeping your knees mobile and healthy, you should avoid Virasana if you have had a knee or ankle injury. In Sanskrit, “vira” means man, hero, or chief and “asana” means pose, thus the English Hero Pose.
A tip for beginners: often, when in this posture, the inner tops of your feet naturally press more into the floor than the outer tops. To correct this, firm the pinky-toe sides of the feet to the floor. To practice Hero Pose with the aid of a licensed yoga practitioner, check out our yoga class schedule for each branch of CNY Healing Arts.
Getting into Hero Pose:
Start by kneeling on your yoga mat or the floor with your thighs perpendicular to the floor. Pad your knees, shins, and/or feet with a folded blanket or towel if necessary. If you experience any strain in your knees at any time while in Virasana, come out and prop yourself up further before attempting it again.
Making sure the tops of your feet stay flat and even on the floor, bring your inner knees together, then slide your feet apart (a little wider than your hips). Point the feet in line with the shins.
Gently pull back the flesh of your calf muscles, exhale, and sit down between your feet. Evenly support your sitting bones by adjustment, allowing a thumb’s width space between your heels and hips. If your buttocks don’t rest comfortably on the floor, raise them by placing a yoga block or thick book between your feet before you sit down.
Counteract the tendency to slump by adjusting the muscles of your buttocks sideways and back with your hands. Your pelvis should be at a ninety-degree angle with your thighs. Rest your hands in your lap, on your thighs, or on your ankles. Firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs and lift the top of your sternum.
Widen the collarbones and release your shoulder blades away from your ears. Lengthen the tailbone toward the floor. Sit in silence for at least 1 minute.
Benefits of Hero Pose:
- Stretches the hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet
- Improves circulation and relieves tired legs
- Strengthens foot arches, relieving flat feet
- Improves digestion and relieves gas
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Improves posture
- Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester)
- Therapeutic for asthma and high blood pressure