Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Reclined Hero’s Pose

 

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img_1340Reclined Hero’s Pose is a back bend that will provide a generous stretch in the quadriceps, knees, and ankles.  As a back bend, this pose will also open up the front upper chest to aid in creating space for the lungs to expand, can relieve indigestion and nausea by lifting the diaphragm, and may reduce fatigue in the legs.  It may also relieve pressure in the head that has been caused by sinus congestion.  This pose will add energy to the body.  You will feel more of a stretch in this pose, which can be uncomfortable, so find the variation that you can hold for a period of time.

Advise your doctor before beginning any type of yoga practice.  You will want to avoid this pose if you have any back, shoulder, or knee injuries, suffer from migraines, insomnia, or had a recent chest or abdomen surgery.  You can enjoy this pose if you are pregnant.  You will want to be more inclined in setting up.

To set up this pose, you will want to have a combination of blocks, bolsters, and blankets.  You will want to start in a more inclined version until your body has adjusted to back bends and the quad stretch.  The more you practice this pose, you can simply place your bolster as support(without the blocks) to recline on.  You may also want to isolate the stretch to one leg at a time.  Start by kneeling with your legs hip-width apart and feet pointing straight behind you.  Slowly sit down between your fit.  You will want to avoid twisting your ankles and feet to the side.  You can spread your calves apart as you start to sit down for more room.  If this is comfortable, you can proceed in setting up Reclined Hero’s Pose.  If this puts any strain on your knees, ankles, or feet, experiment with placing a bolster, block, or blanket beneath you.  Once you find the right amount of support, you are ready to set up the rest of the props.  Start setting up your blocks with one on the highest level and the other on the middle level.  Prop your bolster against the blocks.  Make sure your bolster is touching your sacrum(flat part between your spine and top of buttocks).  Start to recline your chest onto the bolster.  Check in again here to notice any pain or major discomfort.  Remember, you will feel a generous stretch in your quads.  If you discover any pain, come out of the pose, and readjust your props.  If the stretch is too intense, come out of the pose, and practice with one leg stretched out in front of you.  Your arms will be relaxed beside you and you can use either blocks or blankets to add more support underneath.  You are welcome to place an eye pillow over your eyes to reduce stimulation.

Start to settle into the pose and relax.  Begin your rhythmic breathing here, feeling your chest expand with each inhale and exhale.  Stay in Hero’s as long as it is comfortable, average time may be anywhere from 3-5 minutes.  If you are practicing one leg at a time, remember to spend equal time on both sides.

To come out of this pose, gently tuck your chin, and use your palms face down on the mat to slowly press your torso away from your bolster.  You may push yourself onto your hands and knees and straighten one leg at a time.  Standing up or sitting with your legs stretched out in front of you for a few moments will help you adjust to the effects of the pose.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up with pose:

Resources:

Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.

Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.