Supta Virasana–Taking Hip Opening to the Next Level

Supta virasanaVirasana, also known as Hero pose, is one of my favorite poses. To me, it’s a yoga staple because it’s so beneficial for healthy hips. As you might imagine, Virasana and Supta Virasana are related. In fact, Supta Virasana roughly translates to Reclined hero’s pose.

When we lean back while sitting in Hero’s pose, we experience a whole new level of hip opening. That backward angle helps us create a greater stretch for the psoas, which is the body’s main hip flexor. Here’s how to practice this great hip and heart opening pose.

Virasana

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Come on to your hands and knees.
  3. Bring your knees together and separate your feet so that they are wider than your hips. The goal here is that you will be able to have such open hips that you could sit on the floor with your feet on either side of your hips.
  4. Lift your hands off the floor and cross your hands at the wrists. Grab your thighs to help rotate your legs medially (toward the center of the body).
  5. Grab a yoga block, bolster, or blanket if you think you might need it. Rotate your pelvis so that your SITs bones are pointing out and there is a nice curve in your lumbar spine.
  6. Sit back on to your prop or the floor.
  7. Feel your SITs bones press down in to the floor or prop beneath them. As you feel that grounding, feel how the energy goes up through the crown of your head, giving you a nice long spine.
  8. Broaden the collarbones.
  9. Make sure your head is active in line with your spine and that your chin is not sticking forward.

Supta Virasana

  1. Now that you’re in Virasana, engage your abdominals to lengthen your spine.
  2. Place your hands on the floor near your toes.
  3. Reach forward through your knees and ground down through your SITs bones.
  4. Bend your elbows and hinge your torso backward.
  5. Broaden your collarbones.
  6. Let your forearms support you or you can lower on to a bolster. If you can lower all the way down without a bolster, go for it.
  7. Keep your head in alignment with your spine.
  8. Take 5-8 slow breaths.
  9. As you hold, allow your heart to soften forward.
  10. To come out of this pose, tuck your chin to your chest and press your hands in to the floor. Engage your core to help you lift you back to Virasana.
  11. Shift your weight forward to come up on to your hands and knees.
  12. Any time after you practice a heart-opening pose, you should practice a spinal twist to reset your spine.

Supta Virasana Video

Here is a video for visual learners.

What is your biggest challenge with this pose? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

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