Pose of the Month: Virasana – Hero

Welcome to March, our Month of Resilience! After spending a month focusing on tenderness we transition to a month of resilience, and we felt there was no better time to focus on “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” This winter has been someTHING. There have been warm days, ice capades, snow days, a polar vortex. We have had to dig deep, to reset at a moments notice.

  • Self-efficacy- Believing in one’s own capacity to handle challenges
  • Self-awareness- being open and curious
  • Emotion Regulation- looking at regulating emotions/impulses and behaviors to achieve goals.
  • Growth Mindset- looking at setbacks, challenges and failures as chances for growth rather than as character defects or flaws.

This month we will be looking at “The Resilience Stew” those ingredients critical to developing and cultivating our own resilience, and connecting these elements to the practice of yoga. Our stew ingredients are:

A pose that we felt was in line with this whole stew, and our own ability to explore the concept of resilience, is Virasana, or Hero Pose. If you look at Hero, and think, “Oh dear, that is not for me!” This month, we are going to ask that we give it another go. Virasana is an incredibly powerful pose that comes at a challenge for some us, as well as powerful rewards. We move into this looking at how we can handle this challenge (knowing that some of us, this will be easy – we know you gumby lovelies!), that we can move with curiosity and awe, be kind to ourselves, and how we can use this space to grow.

Coming into Virasana:

Take your time and stay mindful. Though certainly intense, and powerful, Hero is meant to open and inspire. This pose took me years to get into, and following the advice of the greatest yogis, at my bodies pace, and in my own time, I have come to love this space. Perhaps you will feel like exploring this for yourself.

  • Use a prop if needed! It is a gift 🙂 Blanket, bolster, pillow.
  • Come to a seated position, knees bent, feet pointed out behind. We’d like to have the tops of the feet resting on the floor (rather than the ankles bending and toes pointing in or out).
  • Find the height that works for you. This can be intense for the knees, the hips, the quadriceps. Other days it feels like the perfect opening.
  • If/when you find a space where you feel like you can breath you may want to play with the idea of the torso moving in the direction of the heels.
  • Again, this takes on different meanings on different days.
  • It may mean walking the hands towards the feet, keeping an open heart.
  • It may mean moving down to the forearms, allowing the psoas to lengthen and the abdominals to extend.
  • For some it means lying down with the legs either beneath the body, or hugging the body. This can be quite intense, if not way too much for some of us. And, if we are following our bodies, we are aware of the differences between too much and the right amount of pushing.