Thunderbolt Pose to Prepare for Virasana

Thunderbolt pose is also called Vajrasana. It is known as a preparatory pose for the hip opener, Virasana. However, as is the case with many yoga postures, just because it’s a preparatory posture, doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

Thunderbolt Pose

If you have knee pain or tight hips, make sure to have props nearby. For knee pain, you may want to have a folded blanket and a block. To help facilitate this posture when you have tight hips, make sure to have a block. You can even use a bolster, but it’s my least favorite prop for this exercise because it puts so much space between your thighs.

  1. thunderbolt poseBegin on your hands and knees. If this is uncomfortable on your knees, place more padding under them.
  2. Make sure that your legs are parallel and hip distance apart. This means that your knees should be directly beneath your SITs bones, not to the outside of your hip joint.
  3. Start sitting your bottom back to your heels. If you start to feel pain in the back of your knees, place a folded blanket in your knee crease. The blanket should help reduce stress and pain. If it doesn’t, stop doing this pose!
  4. When you get to the point where you can’t lower any further, assess your situation. If your bottom is on your heels and you don’t feel any pain or discomfort, you’re set. However, if your bottom does not reach your heels, place a block between your lower shins. You should be able to sit on the block. Adjust it so that you feel comfortable.
  5. Feel your SITs bones press down into the surface beneath you.
  6. As your SITs bones connect, feel your spine naturally lengthen.
  7. Broaden your collarbones, and place your shoulder blades onto your back in neutral.
  8. Hold here and breathe. I recommend using ujjayi breathing and holding the pose for 5-10 breaths. This is only a suggestion. You are welcome to breathe and hold for however long you’d like.

Thunderbolt Pose Video

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Here is a video for visual learners.

Do you use thunderbolt pose as preparation for Virasana, or do you use it for another purpose? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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