Supta Virasana, or Reclining Hero's Pose, is practiced by first situating yourself into Virasana, Hero's Pose. This pose can be very difficult on the knees, so take it easy. If you are unable to sit completely between your heels, as in the picture to the left, then sit on a yoga block or a blanket. You want to be sure that there is NO pain in the inner or outer knees. Take a few breaths here to settle into the pose and add props as needed.
Once you feel confident that there is no pain in the knees, place your hands behind you, fingertips in towards your sacrum and lean back into your hands, lifting the chest. Feel the openness in the chest and the fluidity in the spine. This may be as far as you go today as you feel the stretch along the front of the hips. If you are comfortable in the pose, you may decide to bend your elbows and place your forearms on the ground, again pause in this position. It is likely that you feel the backbend in your lower back at this point. Be sure to continue to press into the forearms and lift the center of the chest as well as extend the coccyx towards the knees. This will elongate the spine and alleviate the intensity of the pose in the lower back.
Place a yoga block underneath your shoulder blades as well as one underneath your head. Or place two to three narrowly folded blankets behind your back OR if you are very flexible and confident that there is no pain in your knees or your lower back you can lower yourself all the way to the ground.
And once you have mastered this pose, you can ask a friend to help you move deeper into the pose by placing pressure or weight onto your thighs as you see on this asana page. To come out of the pose, keep the same actions of extending through the tops of the thighs to the knees, lengthen the tailbone towards the knees, press into the forearms and lift your chest towards the sky. Enjoy!
Listen to the Pronunciation of Supta Virasana. Courtesy of the Online Sanskrit Pronunciation Guide. [audio:http://www.ihanuman.com/media/audio/Sanskrit/Asanas/suptavirasana.mp3]