How To Do Supta Virasana

By Subodh / February 21, 2015

Supta Virasana is referred to as Reclining Hero Pose. It is one of the intermediate poses in yoga which actually is the modification of Virasana. When translated into English, Supta stands for lying down, Vira for Hero, and asana for pose. It is quite simple, but people who are pear shaped or have tighter hips and hamstrings might find it a little tough. Here is a step by step guide of how to do Supta Virasana…

Practicing Supta Virasana Step By Step

  1. Sit down on the yoga mat on your heels, with knees bent.
  2. Knees should rest on the floor, being in contact with each other.
  3. Separate your heels and allow your butts to rest on the floor between the feet.
  4. Keep your spine, neck, and head erect.
  5. Let the palms rest atop the thighs, fingertips just above your kneed.
  6. Inhale and let the hands rest on either side of the body, palms placed firmly on the floor.
  7. Exhale and slowly lower the body on the mat, with head moving towards the heels. Move gently backward, supporting your body with your hands.
  8. Keep the legs unmoved.
  9. Keep moving backward till your torso and waist rest on the floor.
  10. Allow your head and body to relax completely on the floor.
  11. Place the hands back on the thighs or just keep it away from the body, giving space for armpits to breathe, while palms face the ceiling.
  12. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing.
  13. With each inhalation, your abdomen should rise.
  14. With each exhalation, contract and squeeze your abdomen, allowing it to come closer to the spine.
  15. Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths.
  16. To come out, inhale and lift your torso off the mat by exerting pressure on your hands.
  17. Come to initial position.
  18. Stretch your legs out, one at a time, and shake them out.

supta virasana

Modifications

If you are not able to recline completely, fold two or three blankets and keep it behind you for supporting your spine as well as neck and head. You can even use blocks for the purpose. Adjust the height so that you can recline in an easy way.

To keep your legs in place, place some weight across the thighs, just in front of the pelvis.

Deepening the pose

You can deepen the pose by stretching your arms over the head.

  1. Once you have reclined completely, inhale and lift your arms over the head, perpendicular to your mat.
  2. Exhale and stretch your hands backward, armpits rolled towards the ceiling, palms joined in Namaskar mudra.
    Just ensure that your shoulder blades are pulled downward towards the tailbone, while neck stays relaxed.

Beginner’s Tips

Beginners can use a strap to hold the thighs in place, in case it slides away, which is quite common. Also, use bolsters to support your back and head while reclining.

Therapeutic Applications of Supta Virasana

It is known to be beneficial for asthma, arthritis, digestive issues, cold, headache, hypertension, infertility, sleep disorders, menstrual uneasiness, respiratory disorders, lower back ache, and varicose veins.

Benefits of Supta Virasana

Some of the benefits you can reap by regularly practicing Reclining Hero Pose include:

  1. Ease and thwarts of joint pains
  2. Stretches and strengthens abdomen, back, thighs, knees, ankles, shoulders, and arms
  3. Eases back pain
  4. Eases fatigue experienced by the legs
  5. Improves digestive system functioning
  6. Better circulation to the head, heart, digestive system, and respiratory system
  7. Alleviates heavy and painful menstruation

Poses To Do Before Supta Virasana

Some of the poses you should practice before getting into Supta Virasana include the following:

  1. Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose
  2. Balasana – Child’s Pose
  3. Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose
  4. Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
  5. Virasana – Hero Pose

Supta Virasana As A Preparatory Pose

You can use this as a preparation for getting into various inversions and backbends including Sarvangasana, Chakrasana, Bakasana, and so on…

Contraindications to Supta Virasana

Avoid practicing Supta Virasana if you have or had a medical history of the following conditions:

  1. Lower back injury
  2. Sciatica
  3. Knee cap dislocation
  4. Back and/or neck surgery
  5. Knee pain
  6. Knee injuries
  7. Knee surgery

Even though it is therapeutic for back ache and sciatica, contraindications do exist while practicing this pose. People suffering from these two conditions can actually place bolsters or blankets for supporting their back and avoid worsening the conditions.

Now that you know in detail about Supta Virasana, when are you going to kick off your practice?