Hero pose: Benefits and how to do Virasana


Virasana or hero pose helps to strengthen the pelvis, legs, spine, hips, knees, thighs, and ankles. Learn how to do the hero pose.

The hero pose, also known as Virasana, is a seated yoga posture that involves kneeling and sitting on your heels, with your spine straight and hands resting on your thighs. The Sanskrit word “Vira” means “hero,” symbolising the strength, courage, and inner power that this pose is believed to cultivate. This posture helps to develop determination and perseverance. Hero pose is also known as a calming leg pose that reduces tension in the knees, thighs, and ankles. A hero is someone who is admired for their bravery and ethical conduct. Likewise, in this posture, the hero represents the learner who overcomes inner conflicts to achieve a peaceful body and mind. We tell you how to perform this yoga pose.

If you are planning to incorporate this pose in your regimen, you need a certain level of commitment and focus.

Woman doing yoga
Hero pose has many benefits. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to do hero pose?

Yoga expert Dr Hansaji Yogendra explains how to do Virasana.

1. Begin with a kneeling position on a mat with your knees and feet touching each other.
2. Sit in Vajrasana.
3. Bend your right knee and place your feet closely next to your left knee, checking that your toes are in line with the left knee. Balance the hip and upper body as you are now sitting on one foot.
4. Place your left hand on your left knee and the right hand on your right knee.
Keep your head straight.
5. Close your eyes and watch your breath.
6. You can change the leg positions to the opposite.
7. Slowly bring both your legs to the kneeling position.
8. Sit on one side and straighten the legs one at a time or both together or relax the legs in a way comfortable for you.

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Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose: A perfect yoga asana to stretch and restore energy

What are the benefits of hero pose?

The yoga pose offers many benefits:

  • Encourages proper alignment of the spine, helping to improve posture over time.
  • Stretches your hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet.
  • Strengthens the muscles of your legs, ankles, and foot arches and relieve pain caused by flat feet.
  • Enhances blood flow in the body and alleviates fatigue in the legs.
  • Creates a sense of well-being, and emotional stability and improves confidence.
  • Can be therapeutic for individuals suffering from sciatica, as it stretches and relieves tension in the lower back.
  • Stimulates digestive organs, aiding in better digestion.

This pose is known to have a calming and grounding effect on the mind, making it beneficial for stress reduction, says the expert.

What is the best time to do hero pose?

Hero pose can be practised at any time of the day, but it is particularly beneficial during meditation or as part of a cool-down routine after more vigorous asanas. Avoid practising it right after a heavy meal.

Woman meditating
Do hero pose while meditating. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Who should avoid hero pose?

Individuals with acute knee or ankle and spine or hip injuries should avoid this pose to prevent further strain. Pregnant women may also find it uncomfortable to sit on their heels, and modifications should be made to accommodate their changing bodies. They should practise this pose under a yoga instructor’s guidance to avoid complications, says Dr Yogendra.

Side effects of hero pose

While hero pose offers numerous benefits, individuals with knee or ankle issues and severe arthritis, and/or stiffness of the lower limbs should practise caution. Extended periods in this pose may cause discomfort or strain in the knees.

Don’t literally be a hero, just listen to your body and avoid pushing beyond your limits.

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