Spend a lot of time sitting? Stretch out those tight hip and thigh muscles with Reclining Hero Pose…
Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana) is an intermediate-to-advanced yoga pose that provides an amazing stretch for the feet, ankles, quadriceps muscles, abs, and hip flexors – muscles that in our often-sedentary lives rarely get much of a stretch, and are often tight and shortened as a result, leading to back pain and other complications over time. This also means that this pose can be somewhat intense for many people. If you wish to modify this pose, you may wish to try Saddle Pose, a slightly different variation that provides more of a stretch for the back and allows the knees to come apart to relieve the stretch in the front of the thighs a bit.
When first learning this pose, you can rest your back on a cushion or bolster, or simply lean back on your hands or elbows for a less intense stretch. You can find some helpful Saddle Pose variations here.
Here’s how to perform Reclining Hero Pose, according to EkhartYoga.com:
- Start in Virasana / Hero Pose sitting on, or in-between, your heels.
- Bring your hands behind you to the mat.
- Press the tops of the feet to the mat and firm the inner ankles in.
- Bend your elbows and slowly lean your body back as you exhale, lowering onto your forearms and then your upper back, if that still feels ok for your knees and lower back.
- You should feel a stretch in the mid point of your thigh muscle (quadriceps) rather than your knees.
- If your back is on the mat you can bring your arms alongside the ears, out to the sides or place your hands on your belly.
- Stay here for 10 breaths.
- Try to come out of the pose the way you came into it – mindfully. Engage your abdominal muscles as you inhale, pushing your hands or elbows to the mat to lift back up to Virasana.
This is a wonderful releasing pose for anyone who spends a lot of time sitting; however, those with knee or ankle injuries or lower back problems should skip this one.