Supta Virasana, also known as the Reclining Hero Pose, excellent stretches in the quadriceps, groin, and psoas (deep vertical muscle in front of the hip). Very relaxing and excellent preparation for back bending poses.
|Known as:||Supta Virasana, Reclining Hero Pose, Saddle Pose, Pouch Pose B, Paryankasana B|
|Sanskrit name:||सुप्त वीरासन|
|Type:||Reclining, relaxation, restorative pose|
|Total time:||More than 1 minutes|
|Focus:||Hips, knees, and ankle joints|
|Indications:||Flat feet, varicose veins, respiration, sciatica, insomnia, high blood pressure, infertility, thyroid and parathyroid productivity, nervous system, menopausal discomfort|
|Counterpose:||Halasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Balasana|
|Preparatory poses:||Butterfly Pose, Child’s Resting Pose, Cobra Pose, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Gomukhasana, Hero Pose|
|Follow-up poses:||Padmasana, Balasana, Baddha Konasana, Bakasana|
|Contraindications:||Injury to knee, back, ankle (practice Supta Salamba Virasana or Supported Hero Pose variation), Heart disease, Arthritis (practice Supta Salamba Virasana or Supported Hero Pose variation), Pregnancy (after the first trimester; use the Supta Salamba Virasana or Supported Hero Pose variation)|
Meaning + Origin
The Supta Virasana is derived from the Sanskrit name, which is made up of three words — Supta + Vira + Asana:
- “Supta” = “recline or lying down”
- “Vira” = “hero or warrior or man or chief”
- “Asana” = “pose or posture”
Supta Virasana is the traditional Hatha Yoga pose while in Ashtanga Yoga, it is called Paryankasana B or Couch Pose B.
It describes the state of the body where it is in a position that resembles a dormant or sleeping (Supta) body.
To become a hero in the world, first you have to be a hero to yourself. This Reclining, or Relaxation, or Restorative Posture reminds you to be the best so that you can give the best to the world and community. Though not often celebrated, quiet moments of rest and restoration are just as important to creating and sustaining a hero as more noticeable, grand “heroic” gestures.
As you take the time to practice Reclining Hero Pose, reflect on how making room for yourself in your day creates more room in every other aspect of the life. The more elaborate you are, the more capable you are of being the hero the world needs you to be.
Benefits of Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
The pose involves the opening of the navel centre. It stimulates the Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra) and makes the practitioner confident, strong and courageous. It develops a sense of responsibility and enhances decision making skills.
Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) also benefits mental health. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system. It increases the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and has a calming effect.
However, the physical and mental benefits of Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) are listed below:
- Physical Benefits:
- Mental Benefits:
- Increases mental clarity
- Calms the mind
- Creates a feeling of grounding and stability
Steps to Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
- Step-1: Standing on your knees, bring your feet and ankles straight behind your knees.
- Step-2: Smooth your calf muscles with your straight hands, keeping an equal amount of meat on the inside and outside of your legs. If necessary, rest your forehead on the floor.
- Step-3: Sit between your ankles and stretch from your lower abdomen to your head. Leave no space between your inner ankles and your hips. Keeping the ankle joints square, rest the tops of your feet on the floor. Press all ten toes to the floor to engage your leg and calf muscles. Keeping your thighs parallel, coming straight ahead from your hips. Keep your shoulders back. Draw your shoulder blades down your back.
- Step-4: Walk your hands behind you and slowly lean on your forearms. Rest the weight of the torso on the elbows.
- Tip-1: If your knees or shins come loose from the floor, you’ve leaned too far back. Rise back up and lower the torso again, supporting it on the arms, but stopping before the knees begin to lose contact with the floor. This is the perfect position for you.
- Tip-2: If you are able to go forward, lower your torso until you are lying on your shoulders. At this point, lower the arms to your sides with the palms facing up.
- Tip-3: If your ribs stick out sharply, lower them and press your pubis into your navel.
- Step-5: Lower your torso to the floor and extend your arms up and over your head, keeping your shoulders down. Slightly bend your pelvis to create a curve in your lower back. Then lengthen your tailbone and extend out through your knees. Wait as long as is comfortable. When you’re ready, bring the arms down by your sides. Bend the elbows and slide them back to support the body weight. Draw the chin into your chest, press the elbows down and bring the torso up. Stretch back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose.
Supta Salamba Virasana or Supported Hero Pose Variation
Precautions and contraindications
- If you feel pain while sitting in Step-3 (Hero Pose), then stop the practice of Reclining Hero Pose.
- Don’t spread your legs wider than the hips
- Always do asanas on an empty stomach.
- Avoid the practice of this yoga pose if you have back, knee, hip or ankle problems.
- Avoid practice this yoga asana with partially blocked arteries or recent bypass surgery.
- Never practice this yoga pose if you have angina.
- Int J Yoga Therap (2011) 21 (1): 109–121. https://doi.org/10.17761/ijyt.21.1.ah8r9t4x57p6247p; Janet Hennard: A Protocol and Pilot Study for Managing Fibromyalgia with Yoga and Meditation