The hero pose is a great pose to know not only for its therapeutic benefits, but because it’s so fun to tell your friends that you can do the hero’s pose, it’s a conversation starter. Here’s a step-by-step introduction to it. This will help you get started in doing the pose.
- Kneel down on the ground and use a thick blanket as padding for your knees, feet, and shins if you have to. Place your thighs in a perpendicular position to the ground, and hold your inner areas to touch one another. Move your feet apart, just a little bit wider than the hips are, with the feet tops resting in a flat position on the ground. Move your big toes in slightly toward one another and put the top of both feet in an even position on the floor.
- Let out an exhalation and sit back a little bit, and let your torso lean in a slight bit forward. Place your thumbs in between the backs of your knees and move skin of the calves up to the heels. Then sit back in the middle of your two feet.
- If your butt can’t sit nicely on the ground, then raise it back up by putting a heavy book in between your feet. Make sure that the sitting bones get supported evenly. Allow just about a half-inch between the heels and the hips. Move your thighs inward and put the heads of the thigh bones to the ground with your palm bases. Then put your hands in the lap, with one on top of the other, with your palms facing up, or placed on your thighs, with your palms facing down, and it sounds complicated, but it’s not, if you just follow the directions.
- Tense your shoulder blades up against your back ribs and raise the upper sternum like a magnificent warrior. Stretch out your collarbones and let the should blades fall away from your ears. Stretch out the tailbone into the ground to ground the back part of the torso too.
- Initially, keep in this pose for approximately one minute. Slowly stretch out your stay for about five minutes. To come out of this pose, push your hands against the ground and raise your butt up, a little bit higher than your heels are now. Crisscross your ankles below your butt, lay back over your feet and onto the ground, next lengthen your legs out in front of you. It might feel nice to bounce your knees in an up-and-down motion a couple times on the ground.
The anatomical focus of this exercise is the upper back. It has some good therapeutic applications for high blood pressure too. It has some great benefits like getting a stretch on the thighs, knees, and ankles, helping to strengthen the arches, improving your digestion and relieving flatulence, helping to allay menopause symptoms, reducing the swelling in the legs when you have a pregnancy, and as a therapeutic application for high blood pressure and asthma too.
Some contraindications and cautions for this pose include those with heart problems, headaches, knee or ankle injuries.
One beginner’s tip is to help ward off the problem of the inner part of the top feet pressing more heavily into the ground than the outer part of the top feet. Push the bases of the palms along the outer rims of the feet and lightly press the outer part of the feet to the ground.
There is a variation to this pose where you grasp your hands together, reach your arms out in front of you, turn your palms from your stomach, and then raise arms while you inhale and are in a perpendicular position to the floor, with your palms facing upward to the ceiling. Stretch strongly through your fingers.
Some modifications and props to this pose include rolling up a towel and placing under your ankles before you rest back on this pose.
A partner might help you learn to stretch the spine with this pose. Have the partner sit behind you and tightly clench the base of the skull with thumb and finger of a hand. As you stretch the tailbone into the ground, make sure that your partner can tug up at the base of the skull, stretching the back part of the spine between the two poles. Let go of the crease in your neck into this little space in between the skull base and the neck back.
One preparatory pose is the Balasaana. One follow-up pose is the Padmasana.
You can deepen the pose by cupping your hands around your knees, straightening out your arms to their full length and extension, and pulling on your knees. Tense your should bladders against the back, raise up the top sternum, and let go of the chin down into the chest without putting any strain on the back of your neck. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds. You can also let go of the knees and lift your head back up to a centered position without letting go of any life on the sternum.