[Pose Of the Week] Half-Reclining Hero Pose (Intermediate)

Stretch your quads, release your hips, and find a sense of peace and calm in Half-Reclining Hero Pose…

Half-Reclining Hero Pose (Ardha Supta Virasana) is an intermediate-level yoga pose that provides an intense stretch for the quads, knees, and ankles. This is a great pose to do when you’ve been spending a lot of time sitting – whether while traveling, or simply working at a computer desk for a while.

Most of us spend too much time in a seated position, which, among other issues, can cause shortened and tight muscles in the front of the hips and thighs. Yoga back bend poses help to stretch the areas and balance the body, but before moving into a back bend, it is important to open up the front of the body first. This pose is a great way to lengthen the muscles in the front of your legs and torso in preparation for a back bend pose. It’s also simply a good one to do on its own after spending a while sitting down, and is also a good transition into full Reclining Hero Pose.

This pose stretches not only the quads and hip flexors, but also the feet, ankles, knees, abs, and chest. It can also help to relieve lower back pain and improve posture, and may also help to improve digestion. It is also a great pose to calm the mind and promote relaxation.

If you have tight quadriceps, you may place a yoga block or folded blanket under your pelvis to make the pose easier. You can also rest your back on a bolster or several pillows as shown here if you are not able lie back all the way to the floor without stress to the lower back, or without your knee lifting off the floor. You can also support yourself on your hands or your elbows. This is an intense stretch so be sure to warm up your thighs, ankles, and knees before dropping back into the pose. If you feel any pain in your knees, ease up and adjust your hips, sitting on a block if necessary.

Those with foot, ankle, knee, or back injuries, or who suffer from knee pain, should avoid this pose.

How to Do Half-Reclining Hero Pose:

  • To enter the pose, begin by sitting on a yoga mat with the sit bones on the ground (or on a yoga block) between the heels.
  • Lifting the hips, release the right leg and stretch it straight out onto the mat.
  • Lowering the hips back to the ground (or the block), lean back bringing the forearms to the ground.
  • Engage mula bandha (root lock) and, with awareness around the knees, mindfully lower the rest of the spine to the floor.
  • Bring the arms to rest alongside the body, palms face up. (For a deeper back stretch, you may also stretch the arms above the head or hold the elbows as shown in the picture above.)
  • Hold for a count of six to eight breaths then slowly come up and repeat with the opposite leg.
Learn more at Yogapedia.com


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