How to Do Hero Pose in Yoga (Guide to Virasana)

Hero pose is an effective pose for improving mobility in the knees and increasing blood flow in the legs.

Approach this pose with caution if you have any knee pain – see our beginner’s tip and variation pose for guidance. Once you’ve found a comfortable variation of hero pose, it can be a wonderful asana to practice meditation and pranayama.

“Although Hero pose might look like any other straightforward seated position, it’s incredibly intense on the knees,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “I recommend practicing this pose by placing a block between the heels to protect the knee joint.”

Hero Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Virasana
Pose Type: Seated Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Hips, knees, quads
Benefits: This pose deepens flexibility in the knees and ankles while improving circulation in the legs. Sitting with the spine straight in this position also improves mental focus and concentration.
Preparatory Poses: Child’s pose

How to Do Hero Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Sit on your knees on your mat.
  2. Keep your knees together but bring your feet apart so that they sit on either side of your hips.
  3. Release any tension that you’re holding in the ankles.
  4. Let the glutes sink to the mat whilst you maintain length in the spine – sit up tall as though trying to grow through the crown of your head.
  5. Bring your hands to rest on your knees.
  6. Bring your attention to your breath and relax.

Beginner’s Tip

This pose can feel pretty intense on the knees!

To reduce the stretch in your knees, place a block between your heels and sit on it instead of sitting on the floor. You can adjust the height of the block to suit your body and comfort.

Contraindications

  • If you have pain, injury, hyperextension or extreme tightness in the knees or ankles, avoid this pose.

Variation

Practice half hero pose as you build up to hero pose. For this, kneel on your mat and raise your hips so that you’re kneeling up. Place a block between your heels and stretch your left leg out straight in front of you. From here, bring your sit bones down to the block. Gently slide your right ankle away from your glutes so that it sits on the outside of your right hip. Keep the left leg straight or allow a soft bend in the knee.

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