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Supta Virasana: Reclining Hero Pose

 

Supta Virasana: Reclining Hero Pose


Reclining Hero pose, or Supta Virasana (soup-tah veer-AHS-anna), is an intermediate pose. Before practicing this pose, be confident that you can comfortably and safely perform Virasana, the non-reclining version of Supta Virasana. While the full expression of Supta Virasana is beautiful and incredibly beneficial for physical and mental well-being, there is no need to strain to achieve the form. If Supta Virasana is not yet within your reach, continue practicing Virasana, or use the aid of props and modifications to keep your body comfortable and safe.

Philosophy + Origin

In order to be a hero in the world, you first need to be a hero to yourself. This restorative posture reminds you to be your best so you can give your best to the world and community. Although not often celebrated, the quiet moments of rest and restoration are as vital to creating and sustaining the hero as more noticed, grand “heroic” gestures. As you take time to practice Supta Virasana, reflect on how making space for yourself in your day creates more space in every other aspect of your life. The more expansive you are, the more capable you are of being the hero the world needs you to be.

ADJUSTMENTS/MODIFICATIONS:

  • Practice Ardha Supta Virasana (Half Reclining Hero Pose) to reduce the intensity by keeping one leg extended, then switching sides.
  • Use support as needed behind the upper body to make lying back comfortable. Try folded blankets, bolsters, blocks or any combination to find the right height for your body.
  • Use a sandbag on your thighs to help relieve pressure on hips and thighs.
  • To deepen the pose, extend your arms over your head.
  • Placing a thick, folded blanket under the knees helps soften the groin.

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:

  • Serious back, knee or ankle conditions
  • Back, quadricep or knee injuries

TIPS:

If you’re ready to deepen the posture, extend your arms over your head to provide even more opening. This is beneficial for a variety of respiratory issues. When extending your arms, first reach your hands straight up to the ceiling, making sure your shoulder blades are broad and spacious. Reach your arms over your head until they touch the floor. Turn your palms up and draw your shoulder blades back down to release the shoulders.

STEP-BY-STEP:

  1. Begin in Virasana, Hero pose. Hold this posture until you can comfortably sit between your heels, knees remaining on the floor. When you’re ready to lie back, exhale while beginning to lower your upper body toward the ground behind you. Shift your weight to your hands, then to your forearms on the ground. Use your fingertips and palms to support your lower back and begin to release all the way to the ground or the supports behind you. Keep your knees aligned with your hips.
  2. Keep your front ribs soft while you find more length in your lower back. Think about drawing your pubic bone up towards your belly to help your lower back make contact with the floor behind you. Lay your hands at your sides like you would for Savasana, palms up and fingers relaxed.
  3. Stay in this posture as long as it is comfortable, beginning with one minute and working up to five and beyond. When you’re ready to release, use your forearms and hands to return to Virasana, keeping your chin tucked — lead with the heart instead.

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PREPARATORY POSES:

  • Baddha Konasana
  • Balasana
  • Bhujangasana
  • Virasana

FOLLOW-UP POSES:

  • Bakasana
  • Dhanurasana
  • Halasana
  • Padmasana
  • Sirsasana

SANSKRIT:

  • Supta = reclining
  • Vira = hero
  • Asana = pose

PHYSICAL BENEFITS:

  • Stretches the front body and spine
  • Strengthens the knees, ankles and arches of the feel
  • Improves digestion, relieving diarrhea and other problems
  • Relieves menstrual pain
  • Improves arthritis symptoms
  • Helps alleviate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Reduces flat feet
  • Eliminates head colds and headaches
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Improves fertility
  • Reduces insomnia
  • Alleviates intestinal gas
  • Decreases sciatica pain
  • Reduces and prevents varicose veins

ENERGETIC BENEFITS:

  • Calms the mind
  • Energizes the legs
  • Improves mental digestion

MANTRA:

“Sita Ram Mantra”

A celebration of love, this mantra will help open your heart center and give you the tools you need to live heroically from your heart – not your head. To practice, repeat “Sita Ram” mentally or aloud.

MUDRA: Apana Mudra

The Apana mudra can aid both physical and mental digestion. This mudra generally helps remove whatever needs to be eliminated from your life. To practice, join the thumb with the middle and ring finger. Extend your index and pinky fingers straight out.

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