Virasana (hero pose)
This sitting posture is used for meditation and pranayama (breath regulation). Virasana soothes the nervous system and draws the mind inward. It is effective in bringing refreshment to tired legs. It helps correct knee and ankle problems and brings a good arch to the feet.
This pose leads to the Parvatasana, or mountain pose, which helps to relieve neck and shoulder stress.
To start, place a folded blanket on a level surface and kneel, keeping your knees together. Place a support like a book, yoga block or firm pillow between your feet. Look back at your feet and spread them wider than your hips. Point your toes straight back. Press the tops of your feet and shins to touch the floor.
Use your hands to roll your calves out and sit down on the support. If your knees hurt, sit on more height. Do not force your knees in any way, but work to gradually increase your ability to sit in comfort.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Crista Chua demonstrates the parvatasana pose.
Sit erect and look forward with your chin parallel to the floor. Adjust your back to keep your spine vertical, with your sacrum, lower back, shoulders and back of your head aligned. Do not slump or arch your back.
Balance evenly on both buttocks and observe the flow of breath at the nostrils. Keep your facial muscles soft and eyes quiet. When the mind wanders, return to observing the breath. With practice you will be able to increase your ability to stay in the present without distraction.
NOW, for the parvatasana pose, interlock your fingers up to the webbing of the hands with your palms facing you. Exhale and turn your thumbs toward your face until the palms face away from you and the thumbs face the floor.
Slowly straighten your arms and extend them up in line with the spine. Do not let your arms go forward or back. Pull your shoulder blades into the back and stretch the chest, breathing evenly. Keep your shoulders down away from the ears so that your neck stays soft and long. Hold this pose for up to one minute without getting tense. Learn to fully straighten the arms.
Exhale, bring your hands down, change the interlock and repeat.
To come out of the pose, place your hands beside your hips and straighten the legs.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.