Supta Virasana is nothing but an asana in which the individual assumes the pose of a reclining hero. Therefore, in colloquial language, Supta Virasana is also known as the reclining hero pose.
In Sanskrit, the words, ‘Supta Virasana’ is derived from Supta (sleeping / reclining), Vira (Hero) and Asana (posture). It could also be considered as the variation of the Hero’s pose.
At the first instance, the intermediate level asana can be quite tough to perform. Moreover, if you are not used to practising yoga, then the pose can be actually painful. But, with regular practice, you can certainly get into the Supta Virasana pose with ease.
So, before diving into the steps, let’s have a look on how you should prepare yourself.
How To Make Yourself Prepare Before you do Supta Virasana?
It’s always better to keep your stomach empty before starting off with Supta Virasana. Usually, you need to have food four to six hours before performing the pose.
By the time to commence, you would be in a better position to increase the energy and enhance blood circulation. This would help you perform the asana with enthusiasm and an energetic body.
Some yoga experts say that Supta Virasana is always beneficial if you do it immediately after eating food. But, if you are attempting to do the asana for the first time, then you should seek the opinion of the Yoga teacher.
Supta Virasana offers several health benefits if you are performing it as soon as you wake up in the morning. But, in case you are busy and have to carry out some responsibilities, then it’s better to do the asana later during the evening.
There is no rule to do the asana, but to gain benefits you need to do it in the morning before having a bath. As you practice the asana, it should be done in a clean room. If it’s possible you should open the windows to let in sunlight and fresh air.
11 Steps to do Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
Step1: As you start off with the pose, you must first attain the hero pose. While you kneel on the floor, you should place the knees beneath your hips. As you gradually move on with the step, you should rest your hands on the
Step2: After attaining the kneeling position, the knee joints should be brought closer to each other. This would automatically keep the feet a distance apart and wider than the width of your hips.
Step3: Later, you need to press the topmost portion of your feet on the mat. You then have to move your hips in the downward direction as if you are sitting on the mat or the floor. If you observe you’re the ribs protruding in the upward direction, then this indicates that you have tight groins.
Step4: As you roll the calves away, you should ensure that the hips are placed between the heels. While you are doing so, the knee joints may start paining. If you feel awkward, then it’s better to stop the asana at that instance.
Step5: Now, you need to point your toes outwards and in the backward direction. Ensure that you bring the ankles close to each other so that you are able to protect the knees.
Step6: After a few seconds, you need to pull your navel inwards and extend the tailbone from the head to the floor.
Step7: Soon after you have placed your hands along the sides, you need to exhale and lean backwards.
Step8: Continue to lean backwards till the back rests on the floor. Never be hasty with this step because the back might start paining at a certain instance.
Step9: After balancing the upper body, you need to shift the body weight on the elbows.
Step10: Moving ahead, you need to release your lower back and buttocks and push yourself towards the tailbone.
Step11: Once you start feeling comfortable, you should place your arms on the head and ensure that the palms are facing the ceiling.
3 Steps for Releasing Yourself from the Asana
Step1: As you attain the reclined hero pose, you need to hold yourself for at least 30 seconds. Later, you need to lift your head and sternum slowly. In case you are practicing the asana regularly, then you can try to hold the pose for 5 minutes.
Step2: After you are able to lift the entire torso, you should come back to the position from where you had started off. At this instance, you must attain the hero pose or Virasana.
Step3: Finally, you need to relax for a few moments and breathe as you usually do.
Supta Virasana Variations
Before you start leaning back, you can always place a pillow behind your back. So, in order to increase flexibility, you could go through the variations described below.
But before moving a step further, you should always attain the preparatory poses and the follow up poses.
While the preparatory poses include Child’s Pose, Hero Pose and the Cobra Pose, the follow up poses are nothing but crane pose, bound angle pose, and the lotus pose.
Variation 1: Internal / External Rotation of The Hips
Internal or external rotation refers to placing the thigh bone in the hip socket. The hips would certainly become comfortable due to many factors. Just in case the hips are internally rotated, then you can attain the saddle pose and rest comfortably between the heels. If they are rotated externally, then you should place a cushion or a block between your feet. You can try out different variations by bringing the knees together or a distance apart.
What to do when your ankles start paining?
If there’s enormous strain on your ankles, then you should roll the blanket and place it beneath the ankles. As you are able to create a cushioning effect, the thighs would be supported in the best possible way. Once you feel comfortable, you can proceed with the steps mentioned above.
Releasing the pressure from the calf muscles
If the pressure on the calves is unbearable, then you should use a pillow and sit on it so that the hips are lifted slightly. You can also fold a blanket and place it between the thighs as well as the calves.
As you start leaning backwards, you should slowly place your hands behind you and bring the elbows closer. Continue doing this step till you feel the sensation in your quads and not in the knees.
In order to benefit from a saddle pose, you can raise your upper back with the help of cushions and extra pops.
Variation 2: One-Legged Variation
If you are in the Supta Virasana pose and not feeling the sensation in your quads, then you can always try the one-legged variation.
While you are performing the one-legged variation, you need to stretch out your right leg and try holding it with your right hand. As you take some time to attain the position, the quads would always be stretched to a considerable extent.
Variation 3: Advanced Pose
To take Supta Virasana to the next level, you need to involve your arms in a better way.
Initially, you need to breathe in and raise your arms such that they are parallel to the floor. Later, you need to move your body back and forth and spread the shoulder blades across the back.
As soon as the palms are facing upwards, the armpits should be rolled towards the ceiling.
Finally, you need to pull the shoulder blades by focusing on the tailbone.
Variation 4: Ardha Supta Virasana
For achieving Ardha Supta Virasana, you need to sit on the mat and extend the right leg in front of you. You then need to place hands behind you and lower the back on the floor.
Later, you need to lower your elbows, the head and support yourself on the back of your neck.
As you rest on the mat, you should bring your palms together. Once you are comfortable, you need to hold the position and breathe four to eight times at a stretch.
Finally, to release yourself, you have to hold the ankles and use your arms to lift the head as well as the torso. After holding your hips with your hands, you should attain the seated position as described in the first step.
If you are someone suffering from chronic knee, ankle or back problems, then you shouldn’t do Supta Virasana. In case you feel like doing the exercise, then you should practice it under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher. Once you have mastered the steps, you can always practice the asana at home.
Health Benefits of Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose)
Supta Virasana is always considered as the most effective stretching exercise. While you would be able to enhance strength around the pelvic region and the abdomen, you can help yourself to improve metabolism.
As the asana helps to enhance flexibility of the spine, it can also improve blood circulation in the hips, knees and thighs. Moreover, regular practices of the pose can relief the person from cold and headache.
- It relieves tired legs
- Improves digestion
- Alleviates menstrual discomfort
- It strengthens and provides the better arches of the feet
- It can also provide therapeutic benefits to some conditions like Arthritis, Asthma, Diarrhea, Head cold, Headache, High blood pressure, Infertility, Insomnia, Intestinal gas and acidity, Respiratory ailments, and Sciatica
Effect on Doshas
As Supta Virasana synchronizes the role of Vayu, it always keeps the individual energetic all day long. Besides, the pose strengthens the lungs, lowers down the blood pressure and helps to get rid of respiratory ailments.
The person can also overcome insomnia because the pose aids in balancing the Prana Udana axis. You would also be able to calm down your mind in case you have been busy throughout the entire day.
As the individual gains control over apana vayu functions, the position regulates the digestion process and helps in passing the food in form of excreta.
In case a woman is facing menstrual discomfort, then the doctor would surely recommend her to practice Supta Virasana.
Effect on Dhatus
Supta Virasana always aids to strengthen the muscles as well as the tissues. If you are able to do the asana effectively, then you can also be relieved from pain around joints. This eventually serves to treat diseases like arthritis, back pain, sciatica, and flat feet.
Impact on Chakras
If you would be performing Supta Virasana on a regular basis, then you would be able to balance the Sacral Chakra or Swadishtana Chakra.
Primarily, this chakra always governs the reproductive system and the sexual organs. As you feel relaxed after releasing yourself from the reclining position, you would perceive a difference in mental strength and fertility.
Once the chakra is balanced, you would be would start thinking with a positive attitude and be receptive to the changes around you.
By enhancing the blood circulation near the pelvic organs, the asana would help you recharge Swadishtana Chakra and revitalize the entire body.
AS the reclining hero pose stimulates digestion, you can find a solution for bowel irregularities, diarrhea and menstrual cramps.
Supta Virasana Tips for Beginners
If you would be doing the reclining hero pose for the first time, then here are some tips you need to go through.
Tip1: Once you have attained the hero pose, you need to lean your back slowly and steadily. Ensure that you shift the upper body. The position should be sufficient enough to feel the strain around the thighs.
Tip2: If the quadriceps is stretched to a greater extent, then you must try placing your hands on steady blocks.
Tip3: To enhance comfort, you need to exhale and focus on your hands and forearms.
Tip4: If you can move your body at a certain stage, then you should roll on one side and try extending the legs out.
Finally, you should never practice the pose in a congested area. If your house is quite small, then you can go to a garden and follow the aforementioned steps.
In case you are suffering from heart ailments or have undergone a surgery, then you should consult the doctor before performing the exercise.