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Virasana (Sanskrit: वीरासन; IAST: vīrāsana) or Hero Pose[1] is a kneeling asana in modern yoga as exercise. Medieval hatha yoga texts describe a cross-legged meditation asana under the same name.

Etymology and origins[edit]

The name comes from the Sanskrit words वीर vira meaning "hero", and आसन āsana meaning "posture" or "seat".[2]

The name virasana is ancient, being found in the 8th century Patanjalayogashastravivarana (2.46-48) and the 13th century Vasishthasamhita (1.72), but in those texts the description is of a cross-legged meditation seat.[3]


Virasana is a basic kneeling asana and the starting position for several forward and backwards bends and certain twists. Virasana may also be used as an alternative to other seated asanas such as the padmasana (lotus pose) for meditation. The pose is entered by kneeling down with the knees together, and separating the feet so that the buttocks can rest on the floor. Beginners may instead place one foot on top of the other and sit on them, or may place a cushion between the feet and sit on that to practice. The pose is one of the few that may be performed straight after eating.[4]


Supta Virasana, hands beside the thighs
Supta Virasana, hands over the head

Variations include Adho Mukha Virasana (downward facing hero pose) with the body stretching forward and down, the hands reaching forward to the ground;[5] and Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose), with the body reclining on the back, the hands either beside the thighs or stretched over the head.[6][4]

Light on Yoga shows Yogadandasana as a variant of Virasana, one bent leg being rotated inwards until the foot supports the armpit on the same side.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hero Pose". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  2. ^ Sinha, S. C. (1 June 1996). Dictionary of Philosophy. Anmol Publications. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-7041-293-9.
  3. ^ Mallinson & Singleton 2017, pp. 96, 105.
  4. ^ a b Iyengar 1979, pp. 123–125.
  5. ^ Adho Mukha Virasana. Retrieved on 2011-03-13.
  6. ^ Reclining Hero Pose. Yoga Journal. Retrieved on 2011-03-13.
  7. ^ Iyengar 1979, pp. 340–343.


External links[edit]