Monday, October 13, 2014

Virasana Offers Challenges for All Students

A seated pose that requires flexibility in the knees and quads, virasana, or hero pose, doesn’t look like it would be all that difficult upon first glance. To enter this unassuming pose, begin by kneeling with the knees gently touching. In this position, the shins and the tops of the feet are flat against the mat and the feet are hip-width distance apart. With the hands, roll the calf muscles outwards and then slowly begin to lower down, settling the buttocks between the ankles.

Beginners and less-flexible individuals (or those suffering from knee or ankle injuries) can support this pose by placing a blanket or block beneath the tailbone. From this upright version of virasana, students can introduce gentle arm and shoulder stretches. Those seeking a deeper sensation can begin working toward supta, or reclined virasana. Once the buttocks reach the floor, if the knees don’t reveal any major strain, students can lower backwards onto the elbows before relaxing completely onto the floor. More advanced students can add an additional challenge by raising the arms above the head rather than leaving them beside the body.

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