Saturday, 26 March 2011

Reclining Hero Pose or Supta Virasana

I have severe injuries from gymnastics, running, fencing and horse riding, so doing this asana was impossible until recently. Contrary to popular belief, the body does get bendier as we grow older. Gentle persistence has paid off and I can now enjoy the full benefits of this pose without experiencing any pain from past injuries. Unlike other sports, yoga heals.

Benefits of Reclining Hero
Most asanas in yoga have multiple benefits and so does Reclining Hero. It is a superb stretch for the feet, ankles, knees, thighs, hips, groin and psoas. The last two are particularly tricky places to stretch. There is also a gentle backbend in the pose. According to yoga philosophy, backbends are invigorating, relieve fatigue and improve the posture.

A few points to remember when doing Reclining Hero:
* it is best to practise Hero towards the end of the yoga class when the body has warmed up
* sit between your feet, knees together. If you feel too uncomfortable, sit on a bolster, folded blanket, cushion or anything that lifts you up from the floor
* it is ok to feel uncomfortable in Hero, but sharp pain, especially in the knees, is not ok. Pick your level and don't get stressed out if you cannot lie down
* level 1 - sit with a straight back, hands on your thighs. Stay in the upright position, take 10 deep breaths and then come slowly out of the asana
* level 2 - if you want to recline, lean back onto your elbows and stay on them. Take 10 deep breaths and then come op slowly. You can only recline if you are sitting on the floor, not on a cushion
* level 3 - if you want to go further still, lie on your back, take your arms over your head, take 10 deep breaths and then come up slowly. When you are lying down, make sure you gently pull your lower back flat against the floor
* you can safely add this stretch to your workout in the gym or at home


Nikos said...

I saw the orthopaedic consultant today - I have dodgy facet joints - I had better not be a hero.

Ulrika Laan said...

Dear Nikos,

Instead of Hero you could always try Corpse. Leave the upper body as in Hero, bring the arms down by your sides and stretch out your legs. I do it every night. An absolute favourite of mine, despite the name.

Nikos said...

I feel like a corpse!