3. Hero Pose (Virasana)
What it does: Hero pose gets deep into the front of the thighs, along with the knees and ankles. Don’t force this pose, especially if you are recovering from an ankle or knee injury. In that case, an experienced yoga instructor can help you work through the pose safely.
How to do it: Kneel down on a mat or a folded blanket. Touch the inside of your knees together so your thighs are parallel to each other. Move your feet apart until they are a little bit wider than your hips, with the tops of your feet pressed evenly onto the floor. Point your big toes toward each other slightly. Sit down between your feet. If this is uncomfortable on your knees or feet, sit on a yoga block between your feet. Bring your right arm underneath the left, crossing the arms at the elbows and wrists. Interlace the fingers, if possible, or press the forearms together. Keep the shoulders relaxed and lift the elbows to the height of your shoulders, with your fingers pointing directly toward the ceiling and the elbows forming a 90-degree angle. Switch the arm position (left arm underneath) half-way through the pose. Hold the pose for 30 seconds in the beginning, slowly increasing this to 5 minutes. When finished, bring your hands to the floor in front of you and lift your hips over your knees. Come to seated with your legs straight in front of you. Shake your knees lightly to release the tension in the legs.
How to get better: Push down lightly on the outside edges of your feet with your fingers or palms. This will keep the feet pressing evenly on the floor.
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