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

Reclining hero pose can feel wonderfully restorative if your body is ready for it.

Prepare your body with poses such as camel pose and bridge pose to stretch your psoas muscle before attempting this one, and always remember to be aware of how your knees are feeling in this deep stretch.

“Reclining hero pose is one to approach with a little caution,” says Yoga Answered contributor Keira Shepherd. “Because it’s particularly intense for the knees, you might want to start by practicing this pose from a seated position until you’re comfortable.”

Reclining Hero Pose Quick Look

Sanskrit Name: Supta Virasana
Pose Type: Restorative Yoga Poses
Difficulty Level: Intermediate pose
Targets: Hips, knees, quads, chest, back, pelvis, psoas, ankles, feet
Benefits: This pose can help relieve inflammation in the knees and pain in the legs. It’s also great for lower backache and can soothe indigestion.
Preparatory Poses: Hero pose, camel pose, child’s pose, bridge pose

How to Do Reclining Hero Pose Step-By-Step

  1. Sit on your mat in staff pose with both of your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. From here, bend one knee at a time to bring your feet to the outside of your hips.
  3. Take a few breaths here until you feel ready to intensify the pose.
  4. Place your arms on the mat behind your lower back and use them to lower yourself down to the ground.
  5. Once you’re comfortable, reach your arms overhead on the mat behind you.
  6. Come out of this pose by slowly sitting up or by gently bringing your knees into your chest.

Beginner’s Tip

It’s important to bring great awareness to your knees when practicing reclining hero pose.

If you have any pain or discomfort in the knees, consider adding props as we’ve described in the variation for this pose.

Contraindications

  • Avoid this pose if you suffer from pain in the knees or have experienced a recent injury to the knees.
  • This pose can feel painful if you have a tight psoas muscle – in this case, you might want to practice hero pose instead

Variation

Because this pose can feel quite intense on the hips and knees, you might prefer to practice with supportive props.

Place 2-3 folded blankets or cushions behind your lower back for you to recline onto so that you don’t have to come all the way down to the floor. If this still feels uncomfortable, try practicing this pose from a seated position with a cushion or block beneath your sit bones.

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