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Supported Reclining Hero Pose (supta virasana)

Relaxation and restorative posture that relieves breathing problems.
 

Supported Reclining Hero Pose (or supta virasana) opens your chest and rib cage, which helps to relieve breathing problems and can be beneficial for your heart. This pose also alleviates sinus pressure, reduces fatigue in your legs and relieves nausea and indigestion. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, you may want to perform this pose to soothe your mind and relax your nervous system.
 
Supported Reclining Hero Pose requires the use of props, which allows you to hold the pose for a longer period of time. The bolster used in this pose prevents your knees from coming off the floor and also helps to lift and stretch your torso and chest. The folded blanket used in this pose rests under your head so you can keep your head in alignment with your spine.
 
You should be comfortable sitting in Hero Pose before you attempt this pose. After performing this pose, you should shake out your legs to help relieve your knees, ankles and feet. Avoid this pose if you have knee or lower back problems.
 
Steps:
Place a bolster on the floor with a folded blanket on top of one end of the bolster. Then position folded blankets on either side of the bolster.
Sit in Hero Pose in front of the opposite end of the bolster.
(The end of the bolster should touch your tailbone.)
Press your sitting bones toward the floor and the crown of your head toward the ceiling.
Place your palms or fingertips on the floor beside your toes, with your fingers pointing forward.
Slowly bend your elbows and lean back onto the bolster.
(Make sure your knees stay on the floor.)
Rest your head on the folded blanket at the end of the bolster.
Lay your arms down along the sides of your body on the folded blankets.
(Your arms should be at a 45-degree angle with your body, with your palms facing up.)
Exhale as you relax your entire body, releasing any tension that you may have.
Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes.
To come out of the pose, press your palms into the floor to help you lift your torso to an upright position and return to Hero Pose.
 
What should I do if my lower back feels strained in this pose?
You should increase the height of the entire bolster so you do not have to lean so far back. Place thickly folded blankets on top of the bolster until you can lean back without straining your lower back.
 
How can I reduce the strain on my knees in this pose?
You can position a cushion between your calves and thighs behind your knees to reduce the strain.
 
How can I ensure I remain relaxed in this pose?
It is important to make sure you properly support your head and neck with the folded blanket at the end of the bolster. If the blanket is too thick, you may compress the front of your neck. If the blanket is too thin, you may extend your neck too far back. Adjust the blanket until you feel comfortable in the pose.
 
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