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Supta Virasana or Reclining Hero Pose

supta virasana reclining hero pose
English Name(s)
Reclining Hero Pose
Sanskrit
सुप्तवीरासन /Supta Vīrāsana
Pronunciation
soop-tah VEER-AH-sah-nah
Meaning
Supta = Reclining
Vira = Hero
Asana = Pose; Posture

Supta Virasana at a Glance

Supta Virasana, or Reclining Hero Pose, is a restorative pose and can be practiced in restorative sequences. This is the traditional Hatha Yoga Pose, while the same yoga pose in Ashtanga Yoga is called the Paryankasana (Couch Pose). The preparatory pose for Supta Virasana is the Virasana pose. The Supta Virasana pose is found in Iyengar yoga and yin yoga sequences.

Benefits:

  • The Supta Virasana helps to relieve lower back pain.
  • Reclining hero pose stretches your thighs, knees, and ankles.
  • It improves the immune system to fight against infections.
  • It helps to reduce your lower back pain.
  • Reclining the hero pose can help to correct the flat feet.

Who can do this asana?

People with regular yoga practice can do this asana. Individuals having healthy joints can do the Reclining Hero Pose. People who want to improve the flexibility of hip flexor and quadriceps can do this asana. Advanced practitioners can do this asana as a meditative pose to seek mental calmness.

Who should not do it?

People with Ankle, knee, or hip injuries should avoid doing this pose. For any recent surgeries, contact your healthcare provider. Pregnant women should avoid doing this asana. Beginners should avoid doing it or do it under the guidance of a professional yoga trainer.

How to Do Supta Virasana?

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

Do warm-up and preparatory yoga poses before the Reclining Hero Pose. This may take time to master, so do it under the guidance of the yoga teacher.

  1. Sit on the yoga mat, keep your legs straight, and relax.
  2. Start with kneeling on the mat and keep the feet slightly away from each other.
  3. See that your heels point outward and away from the hips and your toes point back.
  4. Now, gently sit between your feet and heel (sitting in your sit bones) on the mat, and your feet are outside the thighs. Roll your calf outward if you feel your knee is a bit uncomfortable.
  5. The upper side of the feet should be pressed flat against the mat.
  6. In this Supta Virasana Saddle pose, keep your back straight and breathe gently.
  7. Now, in this position, slowly bend back (reclining position) and take the support of your arms and elbows.
  8. Keep the support of your arms and elbows till your back and head rest on the floor comfortably. If you feel discomfort lying on the floor (yoga mat), you can keep a bolster (use support) at the back of your hip to perform the pose comfortably.
  9. Engage the core when you bring your back to the mat.
  10. Keep your back firm and grounded to the floor, rest your arms alongside your body, keep the palms facing upwards near your feet or thigh, or catch your heels. (or can be kept in the thigh or abdomen for better comfort).
  11. Keep breathing (belly breathing) gently, and feel the stomach rise and fall.
  12. You can close your eyes to feel the relaxation and let all your muscles relax.
  13. Be in this pose according to your limits. Beginners don’t hold the pose for more than 6 to 7 breaths; you can increase gradually.
  14. You may experience stress in your thigh muscles or knees in this Reclined Hero Pose. Initially, when you start doing it, it is common, and this will go when you start practicing regularly. But consult your yoga trainer for better guidance.
  15. To come out of the pose, get the support of your arms and elbow pressing the floor and gradually come to the Virasana pose and slowly release your legs one by one.
  16. Keep your legs straight in front of you. Come to the Savasana, relax your muscles, and rest your body and mind.

What are the Benefits of Supta Virasana?

  • It helps to stretch your front thigh muscles and hip flexors and improves flexibility.
  • Supta Virasana helps to give a nice stretch to your abdominal muscles and helps to improve digestion.
  • This pose helps to strengthen your leg muscles and muscles surrounding the lumbar spine.
  • It can help correct the prolapsed uterus and improve your pelvic organs.
  • It is a good pain reliever for your lower back, legs, and feet, reducing the pain effect of long hours of standing.
  • This pose helps you to be grounded and balanced and maintain stability.

Health Conditions that Might be Beneficial from Supta Virasana

  • Supta Virasana can be beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome.
  • It can also help to reduce the pain and cramps during your menstrual cycle.
  • It can help to normalize your blood sugar level.
  • Supta Virasana helps to stretch and compress the thyroid gland, which helps to improve the blood flow and better functioning of the thyroid gland. So, it may have a positive impact on thyroid disorders.
  • It helps to balance the tridoshas, which helps to regulate the mind, body, and behavior.
  • It helps to improve your digestive system and relieves constipation and bloating.
  • Practicing this can help you regulate and improve your sleep quality if you have sleep issues.
  • It helps to calm your nervous system and increases mental clarity.

Safety and Precautions

  • If you feel pain while doing any steps, stop and come out.
  • If you have any medical concerns, take the guidance of your healthcare professional before doing this pose.
  • This is an intermediate to advanced pose, so you must progress step by step, respecting your body limits.
  • It’s always safe for beginners to do it under the guidance of a trained yoga professional.

Common Mistakes

  • Proper warm-ups are necessary for this yoga pose, or you will hurt yourself.
  • Alignment is very important, so proceed as per the instructions given by your yoga trainer.
  • Use pros like cushions, bolsters, or yoga blocks.
  • If you have tight hips, don’t force it to the floor. Instead, use props to support you initially.
  • Don’t hold your breath during the pose. Keep breathing deeply and gently.

Tips for Supta Virasana

  • Pushing your body more than your limit can lead to injury. Progress slowly.
  • While you recline and come back from the reclining position, engage your core and take the support of your arms.
  • Use props if needed.
  • Practice consistently to improve flexibility.
  • Be mindful and be aware of the sensation in your body when you get into the pose and exit.
  • If you are new, practice under the guidance of the yoga trainer.

Physical Alignment Principles for Reclined Hero Pose

  • Your hips should be placed between your heel, and your buttocks should be on the floor.
  • Toes should be away from the hips, pointing backward.
  • Be mindful and recline on your back slowly and gently by engaging your core and with the support of the arms and elbows.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, use a bolster or cushion under your back.
  • Relax your shoulders (shoulder blades down the back toward your tailbone) and neck in a reclined position.
  • Your head should rest on the floor or support with a soft cushion or folded blanket.
  • Do belly breathing and relax your body and mind by closing your eyes.
  • Engage your core to support the spine and for the stability of the pose.
  • Don’t push your body too much if you are new to the pose.
  • While coming out, be slow and gentle. Come up with the support of your arms and core.

Breath and Supta Virasana

Inhale deeply when you are about to set yourself in the Virasana pose. Let your breath be slow and gentle. When you recline to the floor, exhale gently to release your stress and tension and settle yourself in the reclined position. Keep your breath gentle and steady in the Reclining hero pose and calm your nervous system. If you want to deepen your stretch, inhale deeply and stretch your body more when you exhale. Inhale deeply and engage your core to come up to the seated pose. Breath coordination will help you reach the pose, maintain, balance, stabilize, and exit the pose comfortably.

Reclining Variation

  • Supta Virasana poses with support.
  • Semi-reclined Supta Virasana pose
  • Using props under thighs, back, and head.
  • Supta Virasana with chair.
  • Supta Virasana with wall support
  • Virasana base pose.
  • Variation with arms overhead while in pose Supta Virasana.

Take Away

Supta Virasana pose is the backward reclined full-body stretch pose. It can be challenging, so progress gradually with regular practice.  Practice this asana under the guidance of the yoga trainer. Contact your healthcare professional for better guidance if you have any health concerns. Use props for your comfort and safety. Variations support every kind of person with their physical limits. This tones your core and abdomen muscles. It helps to relax your body, helps you to be mindful, and improves self-awareness, maintaining your balance and stability.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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