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Hero Pose (Virasana)
With Dr Kiki Morriss
Hero Pose, or Virasana, is a great way to stretch, relax and refresh your legs
Virasana is a wonderful pose in which to relax and refresh your legs when they are feeling tired. You can also use it for seated meditation, as you ground your body and calm your mind.
The benefits of this pose:
- Relaxes and refreshes tired legs.
- Stretches thighs, knees and ankles.
- Improves posture and strengthens back muscles.
- Improves digestion.
- Focuses the mind and relieves anxiety.
Cautions & modifications:
- If you have a knee or ankle injury, avoid Virasana or practice carefully under the guidance of an experienced yoga instructor.
- If your feet and ankles are uncomfortable, try kneeling with your shins resting on 2-3 folded blankets and with your feet hanging over the edge.
- Try sitting on folded blankets to raise your lower back and to make your legs feel more comfortable.
- Place a small, thinly folded blanket behind your knees, between the back of your thighs and your calves.
- Bring your arms on either side of your head and soften your shoulders down and away from your ears. Move your shoulder blades down your back. Link your fingers and turn your palms towards the sky. Lift your arms and torso upwards. Gently move your arms backwards, keeping them straight. Breathe slowly for 10-15 seconds.
- Move your knees apart and bend forwards between them. Lengthen forwards with your arms and chest. Rest your palms on the ground as you reach your arms forwards. Rest your forehead on the ground or on a block. Keep your shoulders soft. Breathe slowly for 10-15 seconds.
- Lie back on a bolster or, if comfortable, lie back on the ground whilst keeping your knees together and down.
MOVING INTO THE POSE
- Start by sitting upright on your heels, with your knees facing forwards and your feet together.
- Move your feet apart and sit on the inside edges of your heels.
- Momentarily lift your buttocks and use your fingers to gently ease your outer calf muscles away from your knees and to the sides.
- Move your feet further apart and sit between them.
FOCUS YOUR GAZE
- Your dristi (focal point) is at a point straight ahead of you. Gaze softly or, alternatively, close your eyes and draw your focus inwards.
STRAIGHTEN YOUR HEAD
- Keep your head straight and your chin parallel to the floor.
- Lift upwards through the crown of your head.
ALIGN YOUR LEGS
- Keep your knees together.
- Revolve your thighs and knees outwards, so the front of your thighs are facing the sky and your shins are facing the ground.
HOLDING THE POSE
- If you are comfortable in the pose, stay for up to 5 minutes.
- Lift your diaphragm and observe each breath in and out. Feel where your body moves as you breathe.
COMING OUT OF THE POSE
- Press your hands on the ground and lift your buttocks up.
- Cross your ankles underneath your buttocks and sit back over your feet and onto the floor.
- Stretch your legs out in front of you. Gently bend and straighten your knees a few times.
FOCUS ON YOUR ARMS AND HANDS
- Externally rotate your shoulders and open your chest.
- Rest your hands on your feet with your fingers on your toes and pointing backwards.
- Press your hands on your feet.
LIFT YOUR UPPER BODY
- Draw your shoulders back and keep them aligned over your hips.
- Lift upwards through your abdomen, chest and spine.
- Lengthen the sides of your body.
- Keep your sitting bones down and move your lumbar spine inwards.