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Yoga Poses: Virasana (Hero Pose)

Resources, Yoga

Yoga Poses: Virasana (Hero Pose)


Vira’, in Sanskrit language, means ‘hero’ and thus, Virasana is known as the Hero Pose orthe seated warrior pose. A basic seated Yoga pose, it is a step and part of many backbends and twists. This pose focuses mainly on the upper back and thus helps improve posture. It can also be used as a substitute to Padmasana or the Lotus pose.

Health Benefits

The pose stretches and increases flexibility of the knees, ankles and thighs and provides strength to the arches of the feet. This pose opens up the hips and stretches the quads. This pose increases blood circulation in the body and acts as a therapy for high B.P. and asthma patients. It also helps one pass wind and thus, improves digestion.
It helps relieve swollen legs in pregnant ladies and also relieves the symptoms of menopause. Hero Pose is ideal to perform while practicing meditation and is said to be good for virility.

Getting into the Pose

What you need: Room with fresh air (if you’re doing it inside, otherwise do it in open area), and you. Difficulty Level: Beginner Initial Position: Staff pose (Dandasana) Drishti or Gaze: Forward, in the direction of your nose Steps

  1. Begin by sitting with your legs stretched out in front. Stretch your right arm in front and bend forward to grab hold of your big toe of the right foot. Fold your knee and pull your feet to place it beneath your hips.
  2. Repeat the same on the other side too.
  3. Keep your feet slightly more than hip width apart and point your big toes towards each other at a slight angle. Sit between your feet such that all your weight is equally divided between both the sit bones.
  4. Place your hands palms down on your thighs and inhale deep while pressing down your thighs and lifting your chest up.
  5. Keep your back straight and do not slouch. To check alignment, sit taking support of the wall. At any time, only your tailbone and shoulder blades should touch the wall.
  6. Practice abdominal breathing for a few minutes and slowly revert to original position.

Rest in Corpse pose, if you feel exerted.

Other Variations

  • Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana) – Advanced version: This variation stretches quads in addition to strengthening back and forearms. Get into the hero pose as usual and then lean back as much as you can comfortably and walk your hands to the back. Rest your upper body weight on your elbows and keep your forearms on the floor. Touch your feet with your hands. Lower the rest of the body gently and stretch out your hands over your head all along the ground. Hold for 5 breaths, release and relax.

Preparatory Poses

Beginner’s Tips

If you have have stiff thighs, knees or ankles, make use of a folded blanket or towel and keep it beneath your feet or thighs for support. You can also get used to this pose by first mastering Vajrasana.

Advanced Poses

Important Notes

  • Those suffering with heart problems are advised to not perform this pose.
  • Avoid performing this pose if you have a headache or, a recent or fresh knee or ankle injury.

Last updated: July 21st, 2014
Next scheduled update: Sept 21st, 2014

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