Kneeling yoga poses have been practiced for thousands of years to strengthen the lower body and make it more flexible. Since the body takes the form of a worship pose, symbolically, they are used to bring you closer to the earth and make your feel connected with your surroundings. These poses also induce relaxedness and stability for the body.
Virasana is one such very important kneeling pose. Virasana meaning ‘Hero Pose’, is an excellent pose that supports the spine and skull. In this pose, the body emulates the pose of a hero sitting in a deep meditative state and trying to overcome her/his inner battles. It brings the center of gravity closer to the ground as compared to a standing pose. It is often used as a preparatory pose before practicing meditation and pranayama.
Who can perform Virasana?
Being a very easy pose, Virasana can be performed by anyone. It is especially advised for:
- People who want to build strength in their lower bodies can perform the hero pose.
- Seniors can easily practice this gentle yoga asana.
- This asana is safe enough to be performed by pregnant women
- Athletes who want to improve their strength and endurance are advised to regularly practice the Virasana yoga pose.
- People who have chronic leg pain and stiffness.
- Those who suffer from frequent gastrointestinal problems like gas and constipation can perform Virasana.
- People who find sitting cross-legged difficult while practicing yoga.
- Those who struggle with maintaining an erect posture can practice the Virasana hero pose.
- Pregnant women who suffer from swelling in the legs.
- Women who are facing discomforting menopausal symptoms can practice Virasana.
- People who suffer from high blood pressure.
- Those who suffer from shortness of breath and asthma can practice Virasana.
Who should avoid Virasana?
Certain conditions render Virasana risky for some categories of people. People who should avoid performing the hero pose include:
- People who suffer from heart diseases must avoid Virasana.
- Those who suffer from frequent headaches or a migraine.
- People who suffer from severe arthritis or osteoporosis must avoid the Virasana pose.
- People suffering from a fever, cold, or flu.
- Anyone who has suffered an injury in the legs or the back should avoid the Virasana pose.
- People who are suffering from severe anxiety or stress.
- People who have undergone surgery on their legs or back and are yet to heal.
- People who have tight ligaments.
How does Virasana help?
Virasana yoga pose has amazing benefits for the mind and body. Practicing it regularly helps in preventing several diseases and conditions, that are essential for sustained health.
Here are some of the most important Virasana benefits:
- This asana helps stretch the ankles, knees, and thighs. This helps in relieving muscle pain and stiffness.
- It improves the digestion process and relieves you of gas and flatulence.
- Virasana makes the arches of the feet stronger.
- It eases the discomforting symptoms of menopause like bloating, stomach pain, and mood swings, etc.
- This is a great asana for improving circulation in the legs and back. This helps in relieving tired legs and overall fatigue.
- Practicing this asana regularly helps athletes in improving their endurance and performance in sports.
- This is a great asana for improving posture, especially for people who need to sit for long hours.
- It helps to eliminate the swelling in the legs that comes with pregnancy.
- This is a great yoga pose for curing high blood pressure.
- Virasana helps in improving the functioning of the lungs and curing asthma and shortness of breath.
- This is an important asana to help relieve flat feet.
- Practicing meditation, yoga Nidra, and pranayama along with this asana helps in calming the mind and reducing stress and anxiety. This helps in clearing your thinking, improving productivity, and preventing several diseases like heart issues, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, etc.
- This is a very effective kid’s yoga pose that helps in improving their endurance, circulation, concentration, and performance in sports.
- This is a great asana to perform before Surya Namaskar yoga steps as a complete and well-rounded routine that includes both standing and sitting poses to strengthen your leg muscles. It acts as an effective stretching exercise.
- This is a great asana to help improve your range of motion and lets you perform activities like walking, cycling, running, etc.
How is Virasana done?
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of Virasana:
- Kneel on the floor ensuring that your knees are placed under your hips.
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Bring your knees closer to each other to widen the gap between your feet.
- Press the top of your feet on the floor.
- Lower your hips and move your calves away.
- Your toes should point towards the back and draw your inner ankles in.
- Extend your tailbone from the head towards the floor.
- Hold the position for around 30 seconds.
- Repeat it 4-5 times 2-3 times in a day.
A great variation of this asana is the supta Virasana pose. This is done by leaning your body backward, after kneeling, until your backrests on the floor. Take your arms over your head as your palms face the ceiling. Hold the supta virasana pose for a minute and gently come back up.
This pose has great advantages for curing:
- Menstrual discomfort
- Varicose veins
- Flat feet
- High blood pressure
- Digestive issues
What are some tips for practicing Virasana safely?
While this asana is a pretty safe and gentle posture, still good to know some tips for performing it safely. These include:
- Beginners should not start practicing this asana without learning it from an experienced trainer. Not doing so may result in overstretching of your muscles or injuries. You can even look for yoga centers near me to get well-versed with this posture and its proper technique.
- Perform Virasana in a space that’s clean and well-ventilated. This space should not have any large or sharp-edged furniture pieces to avoid injuries. Switch off your phone and TV to help you concentrate.
- Don’t perform too many repetitions of this asana at the beginning of your practice. Start slow and increase the number of repetitions gradually.
- Avoid this asana if you have suffered an injury to your knee, ankles, or back and are yet to heal.
- Practice this asana slowly. Ensure that the alignment of your limbs is proper to avoid injury and fatigue.
- If your knee or ankles hurt while performing this asana, stop immediately.
- Don’t do this asana in case you have been diagnosed with heart problems or have suffered a heart attack in the past.
- Practice this asana in the early morning hours of 4-6 am. This is when your mind is fresh and your stomach and bowels are empty.
- If you feel you can’t do the asana without feeling a pull or pain, you can use props like a rolled blanket under your ankles.
- Avoid overstretching your knees to avoid tears in your ligaments or joint pains.
- If you are suffering from extreme stress, anxiety, or depression practice this asana once you have a calmer mind. Doing this asana while experiencing stress may overheat your body and induce anger and palpitations.
- If you have undergone recent surgery, avoid practicing Virasana yoga asana before you have recuperated completely.
- Don’t practice this asana if you are suffering from fever, flu, or cold.