Hero Pose - Virasana

Hero Pose - YanvaYoga

Contents

Hero Pose (Virasana) is a seated pose that is a great stretch for the quadriceps. Virasana is conducive to keeping your shoulders over your hips, which helps align the spine so that your back doesn’t ache while you are sitting. This pose is actually easier and more comfortable for most people than sitting cross-legged, especially if you place a block under your butt. If you plan to sit still for more than a few minutes, as you would for a meditation session, give it a try.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1
To come into Hero pose or Virasana, begin in an all fours position on your hands and knees.
Step 2
Bring your knees closer together and separate your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart
Step 3
Press the top of your feet down and slowly lower your hips back until eventually sitting on the mat (or props) between the heels
Step 4
Use your hands to roll the flesh of your calves away, draw your navel in and up, ground through your sitting bones and extend through the crown of your head
Step 5
Stay for 5 to 10 breaths
Step 6
Come out of the pose the way you came in, by placing the hands in front of you and lifting the hips back up to all fours

Benefits and Contraindications

Benefits

Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles

Strengthens the arches

Improves digestion and relieves gas

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester)

Therapeutic for high blood pressure and asthma

Contraindications

Heart problems or headaches

Knee injury

Lower back

Pregnancy

Photo poses in different angles

Modifications, Props & Tips

Hero Pose can be a good way to increase flexibility in your thighs, ankles, and knees, while improving posture. However, since it is such a deep stretch for the knees, it is crucial to take the pose slowly, use props if needed, and make whatever modifications you need to feel steady, safe, and supported in the pose. Try these simple changes to find a variation of the pose that works best for you:

If you cannot easily sit on the floor, sit instead on a yoga block placed on the floor between your shins. Depending on your level of flexibility, you may need two blocks, or a block topped with a folded blanket. Lifting your hips above the level of your knees will greatly reduce stress and discomfort in your knees, hips, and back. It will also open your groins even further and bring your spine into correct alignment, which will help you avoid injury and stay in the position for much longer periods. Experiment with various heights of support to find the one that is most appropriate for you.
If your ankles need extra padding in the pose, place a blanket or rolled towel beneath each one before coming fully into the pose.

If you are practicing a mudra as part of your meditation, you can bring your hands into the correct position instead of resting them on your thighs.

To add a torso stretch to the pose, reach your arms forward until they are parallel to the floor with your palms facing down. Hook your thumbs. Then, on an inhalation, raise your arms overhead, until they are perpendicular to the floor with your palms facing forward. Exhale to lower your arms and release. Change the hook of your thumbs and repeat.

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Variations
  • Hero Pose sitting on a block
  • Hero Pose sitting on a chair
Top Preparatory Poses
Top Follow-Up Poses

Iana Varshavska
Iana Varshavska
Website administrator

In love with yoga and everything that goes along with it. Iana is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) who has completed the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification by the Yoga Alliance U.S. In addition to that, she is constantly studying and improving her skills in various aspects of yoga philosophy, yoga anatomy, biomechanics, and holodynamics.