Transforming Fear to Joy

A Path to Supta Virasana (Supine Hero Pose)

Many yogis struggle to find sattva (contentment and ease) in this reclining asana. Hence, why it is considered an intermediate pose and not taught until greater opening and flexibility have been achieved in the ankle, knee and hip joints. When you are able to keep the spine lengthening in this pose, its benefits are numerous — stretching occurs in the thighs, abdomen, psoas, knees and ankles all of which strengthens the arches and relieves tired legs. In addition, digestion is improved and menstrual cramping is reduced.

Because the knee joint is less stable in its structure and carries considerable weight on a daily basis, it is essential to practice ahimsa (no harm or loving kindness) toward the knees while taking supta virasana. Do NOT tolerate any knee strain or pain, which is often indicative of tearing meniscus (cartilage). To eliminate knee strain, increase the height of your supports. For instance, you could put two blocks lengthwise under your bolster to elevate it. Or, stack two bolster on top of each other.

SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA (Supine Bound Angle Pose) 5 m
– horizontal bolster behind head
– belt and/or support outer thighs with blocks
– support head if cervical spine feels compressed/compromised

VAJRASANA ( Thunderbolt Pose) 5 m
– To open knees, place rolled mat, wooden dowel or rolled blanket into back of knees

– shin & top of foot into wall
– hands on floor, blocks or upper Left thigh

EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA (One-legged Pigeon Pose) 1 m ea
– press front of foot into floor as breast bone lifts to ceiling

SALAMBA MULABANDHASANA (Supported Root Lock Pose) 3 – 5 m
– belt as in Baddha Konasana, hold chair sides & slide sit bones to chair edge
– soles of feet together & toes point to floor

ADHO MUKHA VRKSASANA (Handstand) 5 Breaths ea
1) bend Left knee & gently press Left shin into wall
– rest in Uttanasana or Balasana between repetitions
2) bend Right knee & gently press Right shin into wall
3) bend both knees & gently press both knees into wall

SALAMBA KAPOTASANA ( Supported Pigeon Pose) 2 – 3 m
– blanket over back rung & ankles rest into blanket
– crown of head on floor or back of head on block
– hands reach for ankles

ARDHA SUPTA VIRASANA (Supine Half Hero Pose) 2 m ea
– if left & right side of sacrum do NOT contact mat equally, place foam or block under sacrum

SUPTA VIRASANA (Supine Hero Pose) 3 – 5 m
– lengthwise bolster, 2 double-folded blankets, 2 blocks, or floor support behind thoracic spine & head
– no strain or pain in knee joints (higher support behind spine reduces knee strain)

CHAIR VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up Wall variation) 5 m
– blanket on chair back for heels (not ankles) to rest on, head on bolster
– belt legs if they tend to fall out of Tadasana

SAVASANA II (Corpse Pose) 5 – 10 m
– bolster behind thoracic spine & head
– Resonance Breathing: a ratio of 5 to 7 breaths per 1 minute
1) on INHALES, count to 5
2) on EXHALES, count to 5, 6, or 7, whichever length is most comfortable

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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