Monday, July 18, 2011

Yin Style Reclining Hero's Pose ~ Supta Virasana

Enjoy Yin Style Hero's Pose

Restorative style Virasana, as explored in the previous post, is a great place to start lengthening your quads. But at some point your body may be open enough to try Yin style Virasana, known as Saddle Pose. One of the beautiful things about Yin is that there is not a huge need for props like there is with Restorative. But still, there is some prep work involved.

Setting up for the pose:
For this version of Virasana, I like to start by laying on my back. Some folks are limber enough to sit on their shins with their bottoms on the floor and then lay themselves down backward but for most folks that is a bit much to start with.

Coming into the pose:
So, laying on your back, roll a bit to one side, bend your top leg's knee and pull that foot toward your bum. Try to roll back to the floor. This is Half Saddle or Half Reclining Hero's Pose.

As you linger here, you may find yourself wanting to pull your other leg in and open like so:

If these both seem crazy but you want a bit more stretch than the Restorative style Hero's Pose is giving you, then I recommend trying Supported Bridge Pose with a quad stretch:

This is nearly the same effect, as far as stretching the quads, but it gives you more space to tuck the foot towards the same side hip since the bum is off the floor. You can turn the foot under (toes point toward the same side shoulder) or you can draw the ankle toward you and keep the toes pointing away. Do one side at a time and try to maintain good alignment: shoulder, hip, knee in the same line. This video by Kira Ryder details the process.

While in the pose:
Keep breathing, keep observing the pose in your body, and allow the body to open at its own rate. Commit to the stillness but do allow yourself to adjust your body as you settle deeper in. Breath into any places where you habitually grip and try to soften. Stay as long as you are comfortable.

Coming out of the pose:
If you are in Supported Bridge Pose, lift your bottom, slide the block out from under you and come to rest on the floor. If you are already on the floor, roll to one side slightly and untuck one foot and then the other. If you were practicing 1/2 Hero's take the 2nd side. After the second side you can be done or you could try the full version of the pose. Take a few sacrum circles and then Little Bridge Pose to bring back stability.

This posture was super hard for me at first. I thought I had knee trouble but it turned out it was just tight quads. After a few months of practicing this posture regularly - starting with the Restorative style supported Hero's and eventually working to the Yin style Hero's - my knee discomfort has gone away.