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Benefits of Virasana (Hero Pose Yoga) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more

Introduction 

Physical activity is an important part of self-care. Physical activities like bike riding, hiking or running are a few great ways to become active. However, the modern-day routine has kept us so occupied that spending time outside has become difficult. Thanks to yoga, we can engage in physical activity and improve our health in the comforts of our homes. Yoga is meant for everyone, and it is a sound base for carrying out all other activities. Yoga has over 5000 years of history and has been a timeless tradition since Rig Veda.​1​ Yoga teaches several body postures that might benefit various parts of the body. In this blog, we bring a Yoga pose, the Virasana pose. Let us discuss the benefits of the Virasana pose, its technique and more.  

What is Virasana? 

Virasana yoga is a traditional seated pose or kneeling pose. It is similar to the preparatory pose- Vajrasana (thunderbolt pose). However, in Virasana, you sit in between your feet, whereas in Vajrasana, you sit on your feet. Virasana is derived from the Sanskrit name in which “Vira” means hero or brave person, and asana means pose or posture; hence, it is also known as hero pose yoga. In hero asana, one needs to kneel on the floor, knees closer to each other with feet wide open and buttocks seated between the feet, keeping the spine straight and hands placed on the thighs.​1​ 

virasana

The benefits of Virasana yoga might help with problems such as acidity, indigestion, diabetes and high and low blood pressure. It may strengthen the spine, hips, pelvis, legs, thighs, ankles and knees.1 

Virasana variations may include the following: 

  • Supta Virasana is called the reclining hero pose. It is a healing variation of the Virasana pose. This asana may refresh and renew the organs of the body. In this asana, one kneels on the ground and gently reclines backwards. The spine and head are rested on the cushions, and the hands are stretched above the head.1 
  • Parivrtta Virasana is known as the Twist in Hero pose. It is a rejuvenating variation of the hero pose. In this asana, the hands act as supporting levers providing stability and twist to the body. While sitting on the feet, one kneels on the floor. One hand is placed behind the hips and looked over the shoulder behind the back.1 
  • Adho Mukha Virasana is a downward-facing hero posture. It is a sitting relaxation variation of the Virasana pose. It is practised after backbend or inverted asanas. It may relieve mental stress and exhaustion. In this asana, one sits in Virasana with a cushion under the hips and legs and another in front. One may rest their head on the front pillow by placing the hands in a conformable position. One needs to close their eyes to feel relaxed.1 

According to what I’ve noticed, Virasana might be like tapping into a secret power that helps you find balance in your mind. It may give your brain a boost, making your concentration supercharged. And that’s not all! It may also open the door to a whole new level of awareness, allowing you to explore the hidden depths of your mind.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

How to do it? 

You may practise Vajrasana (thunderbolt posture) as a preparatory pose for Virasana.1 Below are the Virasana steps that you may follow: 

  • Kneel on the floor; ensure your knees are under your hips. 
  • Keep one soft cushion under your feet and another over your calves for extra support. 
  • Bring your knees closer; move your feet to the sides of your hips to widen the gap between the feet. 
  • Now rest your buttocks on the cushions. 
  • Line up your knees closer and keep your spine straight. You may fix your gaze at a single point to be stable. 
  • Open your chest and keep your hands on your thighs. 
  • Try to remain steady in this final Virasana pose by focusing on breathing. 
  • Practise it after your regular meal for about three to seven minutes daily.1 

Guess what? I’ve got the perfect yoga pose for all you busy thinkers out there! It’s called Virasana, and it might be like a protector for your mind. You know those times when your thoughts are racing all over the place and you just can’t seem to catch a break? Well, Virasana might swoop in to save the day! It may help bring clarity and precision to your thinking process.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

Below are a few interesting facts about the Virasana pose: 

  • Virasana yoga may activate the Root chakra (Muladhara chakra), which is situated at the base of the spine. Muladhara chakra may promote a sense of security and help feel more rooted, passionate and abundant.​2​ 
  • Hero pose may help in meditation, calming the mind, improving focus and relieving stress.​2​ 
  • Virasana comes from a Sanskrit word, “vira”, which means a brave person or hero.​2​ 

Let me highlight another fantastic benefit of Virasana. You know those days when you feel like you’re dragging yourself around, lacking energy and motivation? Well, Virasana may help banish your lethargy during those times.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Benefits of Virasana:  

The benefits of Virasana may be observed when performed regularly for a few weeks. The following are a few hero pose benefits: 

1. Benefits of Virasana for Stomach Problems 

Improper digestion might affect day-to-day functions. Regular practice of Virasana yoga might aid in the digestion process. Virasana yoga may strengthen your abdomen, activating digestive organs and relieving you from stomach problems like indigestion and acidity.1 Hence, practice of Virasana may boost your digestive system. 

2. Benefits of Virasana for Knees  

The Virasana pose might benefit your knees. While performing hero asana, your quadriceps (thigh muscles) and upper leg muscles may get stretched, which might help in knee bending. Your thighs are pushed inward, which puts a lot of pressure and twisting on your inner knee, strengthening your knees and relieving any knee pain.1,3​ 

3. Benefits of Virasana for Feet  

When lifting your toes or raising the arches is hard, you might have tightness in the ankle muscles. Therefore, stretching the ankles is necessary. Hero pose yoga might relieve ankle tightness. It might help build stronger feet arches by freeing the actions of the tightened ankle muscles.3  

4. Other Benefits of Virasana 

  • Hero pose might help strengthen your hips, pelvis, legs and spine, which might benefit you during pregnancy.1 
  • During Virasana, your spine is extended, which may relieve lower back pain.1 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is not an alternative to modern medicine. Therefore, one should not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Instead, consult a qualified physician who will be able to assess the situation correctly and advise accordingly. Furthermore, it is essential to practice yoga under the supervision of a professional trainer to avoid injuries.  

Risks of Exercise 

Virasana should be practised with precautions and the risk may include the following:  

  • People with spine or hip injuries must avoid Virasana yoga as it might worsen the condition. 
  • Individuals with knee or ankle injuries should not practise hero asana as it puts pressure on them. So, practise hero asana only after the injury is completely healed or take a doctor’s advice. 
  • Pregnant and menstruating women must perform Virasana yoga under a yoga instructor’s guidance to avoid complications. 

With the guidance of a trained yoga master, you can assess and analyse the risk factors and continue to practise Virasana with precautions.  

Conclusion 

Virasana yoga is a traditional seated yoga pose in which one kneels on the floor with feet wide open and sits between the feet, with the spine held straight and hands rested on the thighs. Virasana variation include Supta Virasana, Parivrtta Virasana and Adho Mukha Virasana. This asana may help with problems such as indigestion, acidity, diabetes and high and low blood pressure. Hero pose may also strengthen the pelvis, legs, spine, hips, knees, thighs, and ankles. However, practice the Virasana pose with the assistance of a trained yoga instructor for better results. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

What is Virasana yoga?

Virasana yoga is a seated yoga pose. In Virasana, “vira” means hero and asana mean pose; hence, it is also called hero pose yoga. In this asana, one kneels on the floor with feet wide open and sits between the feet, keeping the spine straight and hands resting on the thighs.1 

What are the variations of Virasana? 

Virasana variations include Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose), Parivrtta Virasana (twist in hero posture) and Adho Mukha Virasana (sitting relaxation).1 

What are the tips for performing hero pose yoga? 

The tips for performing hero pose yoga include using a cushion or folded blanket to support your feet, calves and buttocks and staying in the position for longer. If you are a beginner, you may practise the hero pose on a firm mattress to get steady support. Use a non-slippery yoga mat. You may practise Virasana yoga after a meal to aid in better digestion.1 

In which conditions is Virasana pose not recommended? 

People with knee, hip, spine or ankle injuries are not recommended to perform the Virasana pose as it might lead to further complications.1 

What duration of the Virasana yoga pose is advised?  

You may hold the Virasana pose for three to seven minutes in a single practice to get its maximum benefits.1 You may extend the time if you feel comfortable sitting in this position.  

References 

  1. ​​Iyer G. Illuminating lives with yoga. Chennai: Geeta Iyer; 2009. 1-120 p. Available from: https://www.govnext.co.in/pdf/covid_yoga.pdf.  
  1. ​What is Virasana? – Definition from Yogapedia [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 20]. Available from: https://www.yogapedia.com/definition/6883/virasana 
  1. ​Keller D. Hatha Yoga in the Anusara Style. Third Ed. DoYoga Productions; 2003. 1–188 p. Available from: http://www.doyoga.com/book.pdf 

​​ Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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