Supta Virasana – Reclining Hero Pose
Not only do I love doing this pose, but I love teaching it so much! I feel like virasana (and even more so supta virasana) is a pose that people have a lot of ego about, but really it’s a pose that you can learn a lot about yourself in. It is an excellent pose for stretching your quadriceps, psoas muscles, and even your shins and tops of your feet. However, I find so many people feel like they “suck” at the pose if they are not lying flat on their backs, so they will contort their bodies in strange ways to try to get flat on their back. The problem with doing that is that your knees are in a very vulnerable position in virasana and supta virasana. While in this pose, it is SO important to actually listen to your body and not push yourself, otherwise you could end up feeling stuck in the pose, or worse, injuring your knees. Whenever I teach these poses, I give the option to stay in virasana or if your body allows, to work towards supta. Once everyone in the class gets to the spot they’re choosing to stop in, I sometimes like to tell the true story about how I once went to a workshop where we stayed in supta virasana for 15 minutes. I then say, “If you feel like you might die if you stay in the pose you’re currently in for 15 minutes, please come out of the pose a bit and honour your boundaries.” Guaranteed more than half of the class comes out of the pose a little bit. I love practicing the pose because it’s pretty relaxing for me and I do get a gentle stretch in my quads from it. My quads, as strong as they are, are extremely open, so I rarely feel a stretch there and supta virasana only gives me a gentle stretch there, but it feels lovely in my body. I learned from this pose that I arch my back too much, and I always work on lengthening my tailbone more in the direction of my knees. I never really felt how overly arched my back was in reclining poses until I figured that out in supta virasana. The amazing opportunity to learn more about how your body functions in this pose is just one of the reasons why I LOVE this pose!