Please note this asana is normally performed with the lower leg folded back, like in Ardha Virasana (Half Hero Pose). In this photo is a variation with the leg stretched forward instead. All descriptions are based on the variation pose.


  • Stretches the back and hamstrings.
  • Promotes circulation to the abdominal organs and boosts digestion
  • Stimulates the heart
  • Improves flat feet.

Common Mistakes

Rounding the back: The most common mistake is to let the spine curve forward. It's important to keep the spine straight.
Dropping the shoulders: Your shoulders should be kept back and the chest open for optimal breathing. If you find that you can straighten your leg only if you round your spine forward, you've lost the strength of the pose. You can use one of the tips below to maintain optimal spinal alignment.


In the beginning, it is often challenging to straighten the raised leg and keep lifting the chest at the same time. If your leg does not easily straighten, hold the ankle or calf instead of the foot.

You can also use a yoga belt for support. Place the yoga belt around the sole of your foot while you bend the knee, holding one end of the belt in each of your hands. Slowly straighten the leg as much as you can without collapsing your chest as you sit up.

If you have knee or ankle problems, this variation of the asana is a safer option than the original Heron pose which requires the lower leg to be bent backwards.


Focus on alignment: keep your spine straight and buttocks on the ground.
Breath: Before stretching the leg, first inhale while bending the leg and exhale when stretching the leg out. While in the pose, make sure you breathe normally without any force. Spiritual awareness in this asana is on the Anahata (heart) chakra with the chest open.

Ravi Dixit is an Indian yoga teacher and founder of Ravi Yoga Resort, living between London and Goa (ravi.yoga)

Connect on Instagram @raviyoga_goa


Photo: Serafim Trahanis (serafimphotography.com)

Heron Pose

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