Facing The Hero Within

Half Reclining Hero Pose ( Ardha Supta Virasana)

Type : Supine
Justification : Quadriceps and psoas stretch.

Physical Benefits : relieves sciatica, flat feet, menstrual cramps, insomnia, headache, indigestion, asthma and sinus congestion. Stretches the quadriceps, increases flexibility in the spine, hips and knees. Stimulates the lymph gland.

Therapeutic Benefits : Balances the mind and body, promotes courage and calm

Limitations : Inflammation or recent or chronic knee injury  

How To Practice : Sitting on your heels, extend the right leg in front of you. Slide the left foot from under the buttocks leaving the heel just next to the hips, all the toes pointed backwards and firmly anchored into the mat. Lower yourself down on your back slowly with the help of your elbows first and then your foremarms and hands.  Direct the sacrum towards the coccyx, the coccyx towards the pubis. Let the hands rest alongside the body palms facing the ceiling for 5 breaths. Clasp the elbows with the hands and bring them above your head and breath 5 deep breaths before changing the clasp of the elbows for 5 more breaths.  Relax the throat, facial muscles and abdomen. The longer you can stay in this posture, the better but attention ! Not if your knees are in agony- come back out.

How to come back from the posture : Place elbows back on floor and press into the floor with the elbows, forearms and hands leading with the sternum first and letting the head follow last.

Variation (with props) : Using 4 blocks or 2 blocks and a bolster, place a block under the head, another one under the shoulder-blades, another under the sacrum. Keeping one foot on the floor, leg bent, fold the other leg into virasana and place the last block under the knee.

Note : The virasana knee can lift slightly off the ground, but not too much. Keep itin line with the hip joint. Use the other foot and elbows to adjust and balance the hips while inside the pose. Again, sacrum towards coccyx, coccyx towards the pubis. Widen the space of the sacroiliac joint. Side ribs away from hips and chest open.

Tips : If the knee in virasana feels compressed, take a folded strap, eye-pillow or rope and place it behind your knee. It‘s normal for the top of the foot in virasana to not be ‘comfortable’ due to the intense stretch of the ankle. If it proves too intense for the top of the feet, roll a blanket or place an eye-cushion under the top of your ankle.

This version of Supta Virasana is the reclining version of the Hero Pose and as it's the half version- it is more accessible for people who have a hard time with the full pose.