Recently one of my Patrons asked me to do a video about the foot position in Virasana. Ever the over achiever instead I did a whole video tutorial on how to do Hero Pose, Virasana. While perfect for beginners, there are also a few tips and tricks to make the the pose more comfortable. Hero Pose is a challenging seated yoga asana and it’s important to honor our bodies and find peace in the pose.
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How to do Hero Pose
Typically we come into Virasana from the hands and knees, so begin on all fours. Draw the knees in towards each other. Widen the space between the feet a little and then sit back. The pelvis resting on the floor, in the space between the ankles. The crown of the head is rising, and the feet are hugging the pelvis with the tops of the feet evenly on floor. The hands can rest on the knees, thighs, lap or heart center.
Now while it looks simple enough, when I teach how to do hero pose, the most common thing I hear is “ouch my knees”. If you have knee or hip replacement, this pose is NOT recommended. Perhaps try Vajrasana, thunderbolt pose, or its modifications. If there are no medical reasons for not doing the pose you can try modifying the pose by elevating the pelvis on a block, and/or widening the knees.
While the traditional alignment cues say the knees and inner thighs should touch, individual anatomy says no they don’t have to touch. Choose an alignment that works for YOUR body. Pain should never be something you have to endure in a yoga pose.
One other area that often gets overlooked in Hero Pose is the ankles and feet. The feet should be on the outside of the pelvis and parallel to one another. Toes pointing straight back. If you find you pain in the ankle/foot, have a space between the top of the ankle and the floor, or the feet turn outwards then offer your body some support. Roll a blanket up and place it under the ankles. You can also add more support for the body by again elevating the pelvis.
If after all these modifications your body still isn’t happy in the pose… skip it! Seriously. Just do a different pose. Not every pose is for every person. While personally, my body doesn’t like pigeon pose, it loves Hero pose. Work with your body not against it.
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- Can you sit comfortably in Hero Pose?
- How do you knees/ankles feel in this seated position?
- Are you more comfortable in pigeon than hero pose?