Vira means hero. This posture is alternatively called diamond, thunderbolt or hero pose. In Hindu mythology, Indra (a king of heaven) created an indestructible weapon called the Vajra. Vajra was made from the backbone of a saint named Rishi Dadhicha. Dadhicha offered his body to Indra to help destroy the demon Vrtra (and his army) who was attacking Indra’s heavenly kingdom.
Benefits of Virasana
- Increases the strength of postural muscles.
- Increases flexibility in the hips in internal rotation and adduction while stretching the quadriceps.
- Strengthens the lower back and abdomen.
- People with knee or ankle pain may need to avoid this pose or start with with modifications. If you feel knee pain during or after the asana, then it is advisable to avoid hero pose until your knee problems have fully healed.
- Start by kneeling on your shins and sitting on your heels.
- People who already find this position challenging can hold this version of the posture, engaging their abdominals and deep spinal muscles.
- Feel your lungs breathing deeply and your heart beating in your chest.
- If your knees are healthy, move into Virasana by separating the feet and placing your seat in between them with your knees together and your thighs rolled inward.
- Lift your hips slightly and clasp your calf muscles with your hands, rotating them gently outward to create space for your seat.
- If your knees feel uncomfortable, place a prop underneath your seat or go back to the first stage of hero pose.
- Make sure your pelvis is centered in between your ankles. Feel your sitzbones press evenly into the mat.
- Press your knees forward and slightly toward each other. Breathe deeply. Press your lower legs and feet into the earth, creating an extra stretch in the ankles, knees, and hips.
- Use your arms and the power of your legs and core to lift yourself back up to a kneeling position.