Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Virasana is an asana in which the doer is expected to take the pose of a hero. But actually a Hero doesn’t have a particular pose or a fixed pose to display. Hero is a warrior who fights for intent while safeguarding and protecting self.
He sits down when he has conquered what he needs to conquer. Vira or Hero in terms of Yoga means a person who is trying to conquer his or her own internal turmoil. Virasana is called Hero Pose because it enables one to become a Hero or Vira by being a better person by conquering himself.
Virasana or Hero Pose
Vira = Hero
Asana = Pose, Posture
Preparation for Virasana
- Virasana yields best results when performed in the morning, early part of the morning to be precise. If it cannot be done in the morning due to some reason, it can alternatively be performed in the evening also.
- There is no compulsory rule that Virasana should be done on empty stomach. If you are planning to do some other asanas either before or after Virasana, you should have food 4-6 hours before performing Virasana. Make sure to keep your bowel clean in that case.
Method of doing Virasana
Positioning for the Asana
- Take to kneeling position on the floor.
- Keep your knees directly under your hips.
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Bring both your knees together.
Performing and getting to the Virasana
- After having seated in the above said position, while bringing the knees together, allow the gap between your feet to widen. The gap or distance between your feet should be more than the width of your hips.
- Press the tops of your feet on the floor firmly
- Now, slowly bring your hips down such that you could sit on your butts, on the mat.
- Roll the calf muscles away.
- Make sure that your hips are place right between your heels
- See that your toes point outwards and back.
- The inner part of your ankles must be drawn in to protect your knees.
- If you find sharp, twitching sensations or pull in your calves or knees, stop continuing this asana.
- Pull your navel deep in.
Release from the asana and coming back to the point of start
- Keep yourself in this asana for about 30 seconds. With practice, you can gradually extend the time of your stay in this asana up to 60 seconds.
- After finishing the asana, slowly release yourself from the asana.
Advanced pose (variant of Virasana)
- Engulf your knees with your palms and make your arms straight in order to deepen this pose.
- Now pull on your knees.
- Keep your shoulder blades firm against your back.
- Lift up the top part of your breast bone (sternum). Slowly lower your chin such that it rests on your chest.
- Take caution not to strain or over-stretch your neck.
- Be in this pose for at least 20 seconds.
- Now release your knees and lift your head to its neutral position, continue holding the lift in the sternum.
Purva Asanas (Preparatory Asanas)
Before Virasana, you can do one or more of the below mentioned Asanas –
- Baddha Konasana
Paschat Asanas (Post-Veerasana Poses)
After performing Virasan, one can perform –
What time should be spent in the pose while doing Virasana?
One can stay in Virasana for 30-60 seconds at a stretch. There is no need of doing this asana for more than once.
Health Benefits of Virasana – Hero Pose
Virasana gives a good stretch to your ankles, knees and thighs, makes the muscles strong and flexible
- It improves the blood circulation in the legs and relieves tired legs.
- Virasana is a good remedy for restless leg syndrome or tired legs and feet
- It makes the foot arches strong
- It helps in improvising posture and wards off the posture related problems
- It is a good remedy for those suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, and flat feet
- It aids good digestion. It helps in relieving the abdominal gases, and thus is a good remedy for bloating.
- It relieves and reduces the swelling occurring in the legs in the second trimester of pregnancy (between 4th and 6th months of pregnancy)
- It helps in easing the symptoms of menopause.
- It has calming effect on the mind and creates mental stability.
- It improves focus, relieves stress and strengthens the mind
Virasana, what it promises!
At the outset, Virasana looks an easy asana to perform and to practice. But in fact, it needs flexible thighs, ankles and hip flexor muscles to perform the Virasana. One should be able to fold the knee joints flexibly while in the asana. Usually we are not used to sit on the floor or in this posture regularly. Thus, when we perform this asana, there is severe pressure on the tops of your feet. At the same time you would surely feel compression in your lower torso and strain in your thighs. It needs constant practice to sit in Hero posture i.e. Virasana.
But when we see the benefits which Virasana bestows on us and our health, one would feel that it is worth learning and practicing it to perfection. It gives good stretch to your legs. It helps you in performing the daily activities like walking, running and cycling comfortably. It strengthens your feet arches, elongates and strengthens your quadriceps muscles, and broadens your sacrum. The asana helps in improvising the metabolism and aids proper digestion of food.
This pose is ideal for meditation. It helps in discovering self and helps you in becoming aware of your mental state without getting too attached. The stance of Virasana resembles a warrior with strong body and stable mind since the asana bestows both these qualities in you.
Impact on Chakras
Veerasan mainly works on Muladhara Chakra or the Root Chakra as it is popularly called.
Virasana, by energizing and balancing the Muladhara Chakra helps in making you feel rooted and passionate. It also activates the Muladhara Chakra and promotes a sense of security. It is also associated with health, passion and abundance. It helps in self-realization, self-search and to balance thoughts and mind.
Contraindications and precautions
Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Virasana)
Patients suffering from below mentioned conditions should avoid doing Virasana –
- Heart diseases
- Headache of chronic course
- Knee injury or severe arthritis
Effect on Doshas
Effect of Virasana on Doshas and their subtypes
Controls Vayu, Apana Vayu – By controlling Apana Vayu, Virasana helps in relieving abdominal gases, constipation, bloating, and aids proper digestion. Also by balancing and activating Muladhara Chakra synchronized with balanced Apana Vayu, Virasana helps in improving focus, strengthens mind, relieves stress, helps one to be grounded and develops a feel of being secured.
Balances Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu – By balancing Udana and Vyana Vayu, Virasana helps in maintaining proper breathing patterns and blood pressure. Thus, Virasana is an effective remedy for hypertension and asthma.
Effect on dhatus
Effect of Virasana on Dhatus
Strengthens Mamsa Dhatu – Virasana strengthens the muscles of your lower limbs, gives good stretch to your legs, cures tired and restless leg strengthens the foot and improves posture.
Just Before Finish
Virasana or Hero Pose is one of the best asanas which provide a good stretch and flexibility to your thighs and ankle and knee joints. Apart from this it helps in stabilizing the mind and discovering the best part of self while balancing the energies at the root level. By stimulating the Muladhara Chakra or Root Chakra, Virasana helps you in grounding and rooting with self and makes you feel secured.
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