We would all agree that it is a wonderful time to be alive on this planet. We as humans have achieved so many impossible things with help of science and technology. What would have taken a lifetime of research thousands of years ago, is available to us just a click away in our living room. All kinds of information pouring in from the time you wake up. Even after such achievements, we do not have a solution for a happy, pleasant, fulfilling disease-free society. Words like stress, anxiety, jealousy, anger, guilt, fear have become so common that we have accepted them as inseparable qualities of humans rather than considering these a disease and seeking a permanent cure for this. Yet after having made such evolution as a species, we all have that sense of “something is missing.” This is where yoga steps in. The necessity to be in union with cosmic energies and nature has never been as important as it is now.
Before trying to understand this asana let us look at the confusing or tricky part of Virasana pose. Virasana and Vajrasana look the same to a layman’s eye, but upon paying careful attention, you would find a subtle difference in both these asanas. In Vajrasana you sit on both your toes, whereas in Virasana pose you sit between the toes. The practice of Virasana yoga requires more flexibility.
Asanas are ways of preparing your mind and body receptive to cosmic energies. One such basic asana is hero pose yoga. Hatha yoga literature from medieval times also describes a cross-legged asana with the same name. Let us get into the details of Virasana yoga.
Things You Should Know About Virasana Yoga
- Ancient Wisdom
- Meaning Of Virasana Pose
- Hero Pose Benefits
- Steps Of Virasana Pose
- Time And Duration
- Seek Expert Advice
- Virasana Pose For Beginners
- Supta Virasana, for advanced practitioners
- Supta Virasana Contraindications
The hero pose benefits are magical. It improves the blood circulation in the lower part of the body, thereby relieving any pain or stiffness. This in turn would help to keep the joints well lubricated and super functional for a long time. In ancient times, there were no means of transport other than the feet. Virasana yoga rejuvenated the legs after a long and tiresome walk. The lower part of your body is an integral part to keep you moving. They are considered the base of your structure. Once your movement is minimized, you start facing all kinds of other problems in the body.
Mythologically, Virasana pose is also linked with Hanuman, the Indian monkey god, as he performs heroic deeds in devotion to Lord Rama. He is seen to attain this asana, picturizing meditative and submissive aspects of a hero.
Meaning Of Virasana Pose
Virasana is a Sanskrit word. Virasana is a combination of two words. ‘Vir’ meaning ‘Hero’ and ‘Asana’ meaning ‘Posture’. Virasana, also known as Hero Pose Yoga, is a kneeling pose. Normally, a hero is one with special positive qualities that the rest of the people look up to. In the yogic culture, a hero refers to one who is brave enough to accept, be aware, and conquer the inner impurities and turmoil. This is what Virasana yoga is aimed at.
Virasana pose is a meditative pose recommended by sage Veda Vyasa in his commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali. Hero Pose Yoga keeps the spine centered and the mind calm.
This seated posture can be considered as pre-meditative stretching exercises of your lower torso. With practice, once you master Virasana pose, and are no more challenged by your physical abilities, the ability to focus becomes natural.
Hero Pose Benefits
Let us see the hero pose 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
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure and asthma
- Strengthens pelvic muscles, prevents hernias, and relieves piles
- Beneficial in gout, arthritic pain, pain in the heels, or calcaneal spurs
Now that we have known the Hero Pose Benefits, let us start with this Virasana yoga. Follow the instructions carefully, as we guide you step by step. The key is to go slow, steady, and relaxed.
Steps Of Virasana Pose
Given below is the step-by-step method to go into this posture Virasana Pose or Hero Pose Yoga.
- Step 1. Kneel on the mat. Hands should be resting on your knees.
- Step 2. Bring your knees closer
- Step 3. Slowly lower your hips on the mat and sit between the toes (not on the toes)
- Step 4. Press the tops of your feet on the floor
- Step 5. Your toes and feet should be on the ground and pointed outward
Time And Duration
Virasana yoga can be done after meals. It is highly recommended 5 minutes after meals for smooth digestion. It can be done for as long as it is comfortable.
Seek Expert Advice
- Due to a great amount of stretch at the knees and the ankles in this pose, there can be a big risk for people with bad knees or ankles. Proper guidance from an experienced teacher is always helpful in such situations
- If you are suffering knee pain or injury
- If you are suffering from ankle pain or injury
- If you are suffering from a headache or migraine
- If you are suffering from heart problems
Virasana Pose For Beginners
Hero Pose Yoga looks simple at first. There is nothing difficult like balancing on your head or bending your spine backward, but when you attempt this classical seated posture, you will come to know it is very challenging for beginners. You will feel as if your thighs, knees, and ankles are on fire and are about to burst.
You can use props to start with this pose. You can use a blanket and a block to avoid aggravating your knees. The majority of new practitioners need this setup to do the pose safely. You might need more blankets and blocks. Even if you are able to do the classical position, the props should be tried just to see if you can refine overall alignment. Then try the pose again without the props. The blanket will relieve pressure on your ankles and the block will raise your hips so your knees do not have to fold as deeply.
Supta Virasana, Reclining Hero Pose for Advanced Practitioners
- Step1. Sit on your torso on the floor
- Step 2. Now bend your knee, make sure the knees are under the hips
- Step 3. Place palms on the knees
- Step 4. Bringing the knees close to each other. Place feet wider than your hips’ width
- Step 5. Slowly lean the hips and roll your calves ensuring that the hips are placed between the heels
- Step 6. Keep the hands by your sides
- Step 7. Bend your back, lie down on the ground
- Step 8. Shifting the bodyweight on the elbow release your buttocks and lower back
- Step 9. When comfortable, take the arms overhead. Palms should be facing the ceiling. Hold on to this pose for 30 to 60 seconds and then slowly come back to the starting position.
As Supta Virasana requires more flexibility than Virasana pose, chances of injury and discomfort are more in Supta Virasana. It is also known as the reclining hero pose. At any point, if you feel you are not yet ready, stop. Do not push. With time and enough practice, you will gradually get there.
Supta Virasana Contraindications
Supta Virasana is for long-time practitioners. Do not attempt reclining hero pose if:
- You have angina, blocked arteries, or have had bypass surgery
- You feel sharp twisty sensations in the knees
- You have back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain
- You are a beginner
- You have periods or you are pregnant
Now that we have understood Virasana yoga, be courageous and start yoga. The practice of Virasana pose depicts the adventurous tendency of a person. Hero pose yoga has special importance in Hatha Yoga. As we all know, we all have a hero in us, which is waiting to be discovered and given an expression.