Friday, 25 November 2011

Day 55 : Meditative : Virasana ( hero pose) subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Meditative sequence


The Virasana subroutine is excellent for working on the quadriceps, the muscles at the front of the thighs. Strong quads are important for giving support in ushtrasana and kapotasana from the previous Meditative sequence subroutines. In backbends the hips tend to want to be carried back as we arch backwards, strong quads help keep control of the hips keeping them forward and raised. 

The virasana subroutine also involves nutation ( titling ) the pelvis as well as rotating the femurs inwards, two more useful tips for developing back bending.

Virasana is one of the few postures where the femurs and thighs are rotated inwards and towards each other rather than away from each other, as such it is an excellent counter posture for intense hip openers like badha konasana and samakonasana to name but two.

You may not feel ready for postures like kapotasana or dropping back into Urdhava dhanurasana but Virasana can provide some of the groundwork and skills that can be employed later.

If your feet don't lie flat in Vajrasana you can roll up a small towel and place it between the front of the foot and the ankle.

If your knees feel stressed or tilt upwards you can place a small cushion beneath your buttocks or a rolled up yoga mat that you can sit on and even lay back upon in in pictures 7 and 8

Props don't tend to be used that much in Vinyasa Krama but because of the stress that can be put on the knees this seems a subroutine where they might be considered.

The reclining supta virasana (pics 7& 8) puts the most stress on the knees and should be avoided until the other postures feel comfortable.

Virasana can also stimulate the knee complex and build strength in the muscles that cross the knee.

In picture 3 the knees stay together but the feet come wide enough apart to be able to sit between them.

The forward bend in picture 5 is surprisingly unstable, there's a point as you fold forward where you can overbalance sending our face towards the mat, in this version the arms are outstretched but we can also fold forward with the hands behind the back in reverse prayer although caution is advised, engage the bandhas stingily and press the feet firmly into the mat.

Ideally the buttocks will stay on the mat in the forward bend and our forehead and hands will touch the mat at the same moment.

When arching back in picture 7 it's acceptable to place your forearms on the mat with the hands on the heels.

When arching back tilt (nutate) the coccyx towards the pubic bone and rotate the femurs and thus the thighs inwards. 

Press the toes, the feet  the legs firmly into the mat as you lower backwards to help support the back. Do the same when coming back up,  

It is acceptable to push down on the heels to come back up

Virasana is a beautiful posture, ideal for spending a considerable time and working on engaging the bandhas and elongating the breath.

Virasana is one of the five postures rRmaswami recommends at the end of his book, The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga for pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation, the other four are, Padmasana, Siddhasana, Gomukhasana and vajrasana.

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