Hero pose, which is sometimes also called the hero’s pose, is a seated pose found in yoga. It’s mostly used at the beginning or at the end of a yoga flow because it’s a cooling down position. It’s also a pose used to do meditation in as an alternative to lotus or easy seated pose.
Some people find hero pose a lot more comfortable than a regular seated position, which makes it easier for them to fully relax. That’s what makes this pose great for a meditative practice, it’s comfortable and relatively easy to hold for a lot of people. It’s also often done with a block under the glutes. This makes hero pose even more comfortable.
The basics of hero pose
Hero pose is known as Virasana in Sanskrit. It’s a pose that targets the quadriceps and ankles. This makes it a unique pose because there aren’t a lot of poses in yoga that specifically target the quadriceps. Hero’s pose also targets the spine as a straight spine needs to be maintained throughout the period of holding the pose.
Hero’s pose is not a difficult pose and is found mainly in gentle and relaxing flows. This makes it a beginner level pose. Some people who struggle with their knees cannot do the pose and find other seated poses easier to hold. Though for most people. This pose is an easy one that doesn’t take a lot of work to get into.
The benefits of practicing hero pose
Holding hero pose has many benefits. Mentally, this pose has been known to ease stress and calm anxieties, which is why it works well in meditations. It also cools the body down after a heated practice or prepares it for a full-body yoga flow by lightly stretching muscles in the body.
Physically, hero pose stretches the ankles and the quadriceps. It helps to build flexibility in these areas and loosen them for those who have tight quads and ankles. Hero pose also improves spinal health as sitting up straight strengthens the spinal muscles. This is helpful for anytime a person is sitting and reminds them to sit up straight instead of slouching.
How to do hero pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a seated pose. The feet must be untucked, and the glutes must be sitting over the heels of the feet.
- Straighten the spine here. This can be checked by ensuring the head is over the heart’s space and the heart’s space is over the pelvis area. Imagine reaching the head towards the ceiling to lengthen the spine out.
- Keep the knees together and slowly start to move the feet out to the sides so that the glutes can come to the floor. For the glutes to reach the floor, you may have to use your hands to move the calve muscles out of the way. Maintain a straight spine throughout the process.
- If it’s painful to be seated on the floor, use a block or pillow and place it underneath the glutes so that the upper body is raised slightly.
- You should be sitting in between your feet and the feet should be pointing to the back of the mat. The hands can be placed anywhere gently on the legs.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths remembering to breathe deeply before lifting the torso up, removing the pillow or block if you had one, to slowly come out of the pose.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when doing hero pose is splaying their feet out too far from the body. The feet can be right next to the glutes for the benefits of the pose to be felt, they don’t need to go too far. When the feet are too far apart it can cause pain in the knees and thighs, which is uncomfortable and unnecessary.
Another thing that people do in hero’s pose is that they begin to slouch after a while of holding the pose. This is not good for the spine and weakens the spinal muscles. In most seated poses in yoga, the spine needs to be lengthened the whole time holding the pose. Hero pose is one of those poses where the spine must stay long and no slouching or crunching in the lower back should happen.
For those who are trying hero pose for the first time, always have a block or pillow nearby. This will help to ease into the pose and see how far you can go. It’s also a way to safely find your edge without hurting yourself. Place the block or pillow down before going into the pose.
Another tip is to go into the pose from a lifted position. Already have the feet moved outward and slowly lower down. See how far you can go before you feel any sensation. Don’t push past any pain. If there is pain felt, then you know you’ve gone too far and need to back off slowly and gently.
Hero pose can be extremely sore on the knees for some people so those who often experience pain there or in their thighs and ankles then they should avoid this pose. Similarly, if someone is injured in the ankles, thighs, or quadriceps then they also shouldn’t be doing hero pose.
Consult a doctor or physician before going into any sort of physical exercise or before trying out any yoga pose. Listen to your body and if it is feeling uncomfortable then don’t continue to do the pose.
Variations of hero pose
An easier variation of hero pose is staying seated on the heels. This variation still stretches the quads and the ankles but it’s a much gentler version. A variation of hero pose that is much deeper is one done lying down. In this pose, you first go into hero pose and slowly, using your arms, begin to lower the body onto the ground. This creates a deeper stretch in the quadriceps and ankles and many people find it too deep to do.References: