YogaAndBackCare - Hero Pose Virasana

Hero Pose Virasana

Vira means hero, warrior or champion and this posture is good for meditation and breathing practise.

It is said to be good for rheumatic knees and for flat feet. Among other things that the Hero pose delivers is to help the quad muscles relax and stretch. Often if you have very strong quad muscles they can be so tight that they prevent the hamstring muscles from stretching which can lead to problems.

If you are able to sit in this position, it can bring relief if you have sciatica. It is also a posture you can practise when you are pregnant. The photo above shows a lady who is seven months pregnant sitting in Virasana.

It is a pose that you can do anytime, even after eating. It is very similar to the pose the Japanese use for eating and has many advantages for digesting food because your abdomen is not crunched up.

To start, kneel on the floor. Keep the knees together and spread the feet out so there is a space big enough for your bottom to be lowered between your feet.

If you can lower your bottom to touch the floor. The feet stay by the side of the thighs. The inner side of the calf touches the outer side of the thigh beside it. The toes should point back and touch the floor.

Many of you will have difficulty with this. If so, use blocks underneath your bottom and lower yourself onto the blocks.It doesn't matter if you use several blocks one on top of the other. As you get better you will be able to take a block away until one day, ( and it may be in your next life time! ) you will be able to rest your bottom on the floor.

If your back is fine, and you want to help yourself go lower, you can twist first to the right and try to take your left hand to the right side. Then repeat this on the left side. Remember to always relax into any posture you attempt and to just gently breath in the position for a while, never going into pain.

You should find that you can feel it has become easier to lower your bottom to the floor.

If you have sciatica caused by the sciatic nerve being trapped or being touched in the lumbar region, do not try this twist.

Remember to come out of the posture whenever you feel uncomfortable. You may well end up being able to sit in this position for hours, but start with holding for a few seconds only.

Once you have the kneeling position sorted, then with your palms facing up, lock your fingers. Observe which thumb is closest to your body. Remember which one it is! Stretch your back, imaging that you have a wall behind your back supporting it vertically.

Breathe quietly and observe your breath

When you are ready, take the arms up above the head. You should feel a lovely stretch through your spine.

Hold as long as you feel you can without your breath becoming jagged or laboured. Start with a count of 10 secs and work up to a minute.

Bring the arms down.

If you need to stretch your legs out, now is the time.

When you are ready repeat the process except this time place your other thumb nearer your body when you clasp your fingers . It usually feels very odd. We don't realise that we tend to always lock our fingers the same way.

Is there any point doing the arms only while sitting on a chair?

Definitely, it will help stretch your spine a bit and it will also help improve the flexibility in your trapezius muscles and your deltoids. So if your job means you are doing a lot of bending forward, doing the arm stretching will ease the tense muscles.

. A student in my Cardiff yoga class showing how Virasana can be practised while sitting down

Feel free to visit one of my Cardiff Yoga Classes or contact me for further information.