Fri. Dec 13th, 2019

Classic Studies On Yoga

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Virasana: Meaning, Steps, Benefits

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Virasana Hero Pose

Introduction

Virasana is a seated yoga posture for meditation. Though we could find references to this posture in earlier yoga texts that belong to 10th Century CE, the modern posture differs from them. In other words, the yoga texts describe this posture with a variation in leg position.

However, let us have, in this article, at the steps as available in the modern as well as in classical versions.

Virasana Information

Pose NameVirasana
Sanskritवीरासन
IASTvīrāsana
English NameHero Pose
OriginClassic Yoga Period
LevelIntermediate
GroupVajrasana
TypeSeated Posture

Virasana Meaning

In Sanskrit, Vira means a hero; whereas Asana is a seat. Therefore in English we call it Hero Pose.

Why we call it Hero Pose? A hero is one who faces his enemies with courage and valour. Likewise, a yogi who has equipped himself with this Asana faces the internal enemies with courage. Diseases, doubt, sloth, and sometimes his own mind too, are his enemies.

How to do Hero Pose?

Virasana Precautions

One should take care of his knees being hurt by the performance of this posture. A normal person should get mastery over the pose very slowly. The stout people and older people may find it hard to bend their knees as required. They should either avoid this posture or perform it under the competent supervision and the advice of a physician.

Persons with knee injury and those who had a surgery in their knees should completely avoid this posture.

Apart from this, those who have health conditions like Osteoporosis should also avoid this posture.

Virasana Preparatory Poses

Vajrasana is a very good preparatory pose. By mastering Vajrasana, it will be very easy to get mastery over Hero Pose.

Virasana Steps

I hereby give the modern version of Hero Posture and other two original versions of yoga texts. I recommend the users to follow any one of the original versions as given in Yoga Texts and avoid modern version which has come out of individual imagination.

Steps as per Modern Version

Step 1

Assume Vajrasana.

Step 2

In stead of placing the two big toes together as in Thunderbolt posture, place them apart giving room for the buttocks to be seated on the floor. Kneels should be placed together while feet apart.

Step 3

Place the hands on knees with palms facing up. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Keep the position as long as it is comfortable.

Steps in Hatha Yoga Pradipika Version

Place one foot on the top of opposite thigh and other one under the same thigh. This is Hero Pose according to Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

Steps in Hatha Ratnavali

Place on foot on the opposite thigh and other foot under the opposite thigh. This is Virasana as per Hatha Ratnavali.

Steps as per Gheranda Samhita

Place one foot on the opposite thigh while placing the other foot backwards. This is Hero Pose.

Steps in Hatha Tattva Kaumudi

Place one foot on the opposite thigh and other foot under the opposite thigh. This is Hero Posture.

Note: Modern Hero posture taught under different styles are imaginary one. All Medieval text describes the posture with one foot on the opposite thigh. Only the placing of other foot is different. Some texts are saying it should be placed under the same thigh and some texts say that it should be placed under the opposite thigh. Hence one should avoid the modern version which is baseless and follow any one of two versions of yoga texts.

Duration

One can extend the final position from ten minutes to three hours.

Follow Up Poses

This posture requires no follow up posture. However one may take Shavasana after this.

Advanced Pose Considerations

One may take the practice of Supta Vajrasana after mastering Hero Posture.

Virasana Benefits

  • Hero Posture is good for flat feet.
  • This Posture is good for pain in the knees and heels.
  • Hero Posture is good for meditation.
  • This posture is good for digestion and heaviness.

Thirunavukkarasu Sivasubramaniam

He has got 40 years of experience in traditional yoga philosophy and practice. He is well versed in Classical Sanskrit and Classical Tamil texts. His other area of proficiency includes Tantra and South Indian Astrology.

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