Supported reclining hero pose

Supported Reclining Hero Pose opens your chest and rib cage, which helps to relieve breathing problems and can be beneficial for your heart. This pose also alleviates sinus pressure, reduces fatigue in your legs and relieves nausea and indigestion. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, you may want to perform this pose to soothe your mind and relax your nervous system.

Supported Reclining Hero Pose requires the use of props, which allows you to hold the pose for a longer period of time. The bolster used in this pose prevents

(supta virasana)

your knees from coming off the floor and also helps to lift and stretch your torso and chest. The folded blanket used in this pose rests under your head so you can keep your head in alignment with your spine.

You should be comfortable sitting in Hero Pose before you attempt this pose. After performing this pose, you should shake out your legs to help relieve your knees, ankles and feet. Avoid this pose if you have knee or lower back problems.


Reclining Hero Front

Place a bolster on the floor with a folded blanket on top of one end of the bolster. Then position folded blankets on either side of the bolster.

Sit in Hero Pose in front of the opposite end of the bolster. For information on Hero Pose, see page 92.

The end of the bolster should touch your tailbone.

Press your sitting bones toward the floor and the crown of your head toward the ceiling.

Place your palms or fingertips on the floor beside your toes, with your fingers pointing forward.

Slowly bend your elbows and lean back onto the bolster.

• Make sure your knees stay on the floor.

What should I do if my lower back feels strained in this pose?

You should increase the height of the entire bolster so you do not have to lean so far back. Place thickly folded blankets on top of the bolster until you can lean back without straining your lower back.

How can I reduce the strain on my knees in this pose?

You can position a cushion between your calves and thighs behind your knees to reduce the strain.

How can I ensure I remain relaxed in this pose?

It is important to make sure you properly support your head and neck with the folded blanket at the end of the bolster. If the blanket is too thick, you may compress the front of your neck. If the blanket is too thin, you may extend your neck too far back. Adjust the blanket until you feel comfortable in the pose.

Reclined Hero Pose Props

Rest your head on the folded blanket at the end of the bolster.

Lay your arms down along the sides of your body on the folded blankets.

Your arms should be at a 45-degree angle with your body, with your palms facing up.

Exhale as you relax your entire body, releasing any tension that you may have.

Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes.

To come out of the pose, press your palms into the floor to help you lift your torso to an upright position and return to Hero Pose.

Chapter 15

Sessions of yoga are known as yoga practices. Yoga practices should always be well balanced — including forward, backward and twisting movements of your spine—and geared to your fitness level. This chapter shows you how to create a personal yoga practice to suit your needs. You will also find numerous sample warm-up sequences and yoga practices you can perform or use as guidelines for creating your own yoga practices.

Yoga P


In this Chapter...

Creating a Personal Yoga Practice Seated Warm-Up Sequence Reclined Warm-Up Sequence Standing Warm-Up Sequence Beginner Sun Salutation Sun Salutation Beginner Practice 1 Beginner Practice 2 Chair Yoga Practice Relaxation Practice Stress Management Practice Intermediate Practice Strengthening Practice

creating a personal yoga practice

You can create a personal yoga practice to meet your needs. To help you decide on which poses to perform, you may want to start with poses that you enjoy performing and then develop your practice from there. Make sure the poses you select include forward, backward and twisting movements of the spine, as well as shoulder and hip movements. You should spend an average of 2 minutes on each pose, resting between poses whenever you need to.

When you design your own yoga practice, plan to practice for 60 to 90 minutes. However, if you are short on time, you can create a shorter practice of 15 to 30 minutes. You should also make sure you adjust the intensity of your practice according to how you feel at the time.

If you have health problems, be sure to discuss practicing yoga with your doctor and seek the advice of a qualified yoga teacher before designing your personal yoga practice.

1) Centering and Breath Awareness

At the beginning of every yoga practice, you should spend 5 to 10 minutes focusing on centering and breath awareness. This time allows you to bring your attention to the present moment and prepares you for your practice. Once you are in a comfortable seated or relaxation pose, perform breathing exercises, such as the exercises shown on pages 36 to 39, and become aware of your breath and body.

2) Counter Poses

Counter poses are an important part of your yoga practice. A counter pose moves your spine in the opposite direction from the previous pose and allows your spine to return to a neutral position. Forward bends are good counter poses for back bends, twists and side bends. Gentle back bends are good counter poses for forward bends.

3) Warm Ups

You should perform a warm-up sequence to prepare your entire body for your practice. A warm-up sequence warms up your muscles, increases the flexibility in your joints and improves your circulation. You can choose to perform a seated, reclined or standing warm-up sequence, as shown on pages 252 to 257. You can also create your own warm-up sequence by performing a combination of the warm-up poses shown on pages 48 to 69 and neck, shoulder and arm stretches shown on pages 42 to 47.

4) The Poses

You can follow these guidelines to help you develop the order of poses in your practice:


Before beginning the poses in your practice, you may want to perform Sun Salutation, starting on page 262, to prepare for the poses


You should perform standing poses next to improve your posture, as well as energize and strengthen your entire body.


Balancing poses should follow standing poses to improve your balance and coordination. Keeping your body balanced in balancing poses also encourages you to focus your mind.


Back bends, which can be intense and challenging, should be performed next. You should always perform forward bends after back bends to return your spine to a neutral position.


Performing leg stretches may help warm up your legs before you perform forward bends. Forward bends can calm your body and mind.


You should perform inversions near the end of your practice because your body is properly warmed-up and prepared for these poses at this point in your practice. Inversions help increase circulation and improve your overall health.


Perform twists at the end of your practice to further calm and rejuvenate your body and mind. Twists also help prepare your body for relaxation.

5) Relaxation

Your relaxation period should be between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the length of your practice. Position yourself in Relaxation Pose, as shown on page 242, and allow your mind and body to relax.

Even if your practice is short, you should allow time for relaxation at the end of your practice. You should always end your yoga practice feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Hero Ending Pose

You can perform Seated Warm-Up Sequence to prepare your entire body for a yoga session. This sequence warms up your muscles, increases the flexibility of your joints and gets your blood circulating. This sequence can also loosen stiff muscles to prevent injury.

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