Today I wanted to share one of my favourite restorative poses. Supported Supta Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose).
It's super relaxing and soothes your nervous system, but it also stretches your quadriceps, deep hip flexor (psoas), ankles, abdomens and opens the chest. It relieves tired legs, improves your digestion and can help to relieve the symptoms of menstrual pain. A real hero pose.
A couple of years ago, I was suffering from knee pain, due to very tight Quadriceps.
Almost every action you do with your legs involves the Quadriceps. We use them when standing up from a seated position or when walking. Your Quadriceps help you climb stairs and squat to pick something up. Quadriceps are made to be strong, but sometimes we need to give them a rest and a gentle lengthening practice.
After a couple of months practicing Supported Supta Virasana daily, my knee pain went away.
Have a try and give it a go with this step by step guide.
WHAT YOU NEED:
2 blocks (optional)
warm comfortable clothes
a quiet space
5-10 min time
HOW TO START:
put bolster length ways on your mat
place folded blankets on your mat at the end of bolster
Come to sit in Virasana (Hero Pose)
bring your seat between your heals on the blanket
Sacrum touches end of bolster, so there is no gab between you and the bolster
MODIFICATIONS FOR VIRASANA
If this position hurts your knees or thighs, raise your seat higher, by placing more blankets or blocks underneath your seat.
Try putting a rolled up sock at the back of your knee to create more space in your knee joint
If you feel pain in the front of your ankle, place a blanket underneath the top of your foot to reduce stretch of ankle
This may be as far as you go, practice Stage 1 supported Virasana for a minute daily, till you are comfortable to move on to to stage 2
Slowly lower your torso down onto the bolster
Let your arms relax to the outside, palms facing upwards
Make sure your lower back is supported by the bolster. Optional, lay a blanket underneath your lumbar spine curve
Make sure your head is lying on the bolster, do not overstretch your throat/neck. Optional, place a folded blanket underneath your head and neck
Stay here 5- 10 min
Use your arms to slowly come out of the pose
Rest in child's pose or in semi-supine for a couple of minutes
This is a restorative yoga pose, which means the aim is to relax and let go. If you feel any discomfort in your body, try to change the pose with more or fewer props(i.e. towels, pillows, blankets) till it is completely enjoyable.
Trust your self, you will know when it feels right as your whole body will feel blissful and relaxed!
MODIFICATION FOR SUPTA VIRASANA
Bring the bolster into a 45º angle, by placing two blocks underneath it (see picture)
Place a blanket on the top end of the bolster, as a head support
As before (Stage 2), sit in virasana and slowly lower your torso down into the full pose
adjust the angle of your bolster till it suits your body
Practicing Restorative Yoga is pure wellness for your body and mind. Restorative Yoga is a love letter to your self.
So do not hurt your self, be gentle and listen to the needs of your body and mind. Enjoy the bliss, with practice it will come.