The Hero Pose is a restorative yoga pose that is designed to provide a deep stretch for the hips and legs. Hip opening poses are an important segment of a yoga class as they loosen restricted joints and muscles to help you maximize the poses. The pose also does a great job of opening the chest area to expand your lung capacity and improve circulation.
When you start trying stretching poses like hero, don't push yourself to hard at first. As you become more flexible you can bend your body more and more with the pose.
Practiced on a regular basis, hero pose will actually help to lengthen overly tightened joints and leg muscles and improve your flexibility and your body posture. The hero is also a good starter for many other bending and twisting poses.
Begin by kneeling on the floor in an upright position with your ankles in a straight line with your knees. Slowly sit back between your ankles until your butt touches the floor between your ankles.
Once you are comfortably and firmly seated on the
floor you may release into the reclining hero’s pose by lowering your back torso
towards the floor behind you.
Lean on your forearms as you are moving down and continue down until your back rests on the floor. If you feel pain in your knees, come out of the pose immediately.
Keeping your knees close together, hold the pose for 30-60 seconds. To release from the hero pose, push off of the floor with your hands as you are lifting your back.
This pose can be practiced seated upright or in a recline for a more intense and deeper stretch. Like many deep stretching exercises, it is important that you listen to your body and don't push it too hard.
This pose can be difficult for those with tight legs. If you can't sit comfortably on the floor with your butt between your legs, you can sit on a yoga block for this pose.
You can add intensity to this pose by extending your arms straight out behind your head and touching the ground.
Never aggressively force yourself into this pose. If you feel any pain in your knees at any time, back out of the pose right away.
Hero Pose Benefits
More Flexibility. The hero will immediately loosen up your hips, back and legs. Any improvement in your flexibility will make your muscles more elastic and springy. It is important that you use patience and slowly let your joints and muscles become more flexible.
Asthma Relief. Research studies have found that a group of individuals that suffered from asthma showed a significant improvement in lung function and a reduction in asthma symptoms after practicing yoga in an eight-week study.
Calming. Grounding poses like the hero do a good job of calming your nervous system which in turn sends a message to the brain to slow your breathing and heart rate. This can help to lower your stress levels and improve things like blood pressure and digestion.
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