Of all the restorative yoga poses you can do on a bolster, reclining supported hero may be the most challenging if you have tight quadricep and calf muscles.
However, I am going to explain to you how to adapt this pose to make it work for your body.
But first, I have to tell you a funny story.
My 77-year-old mother and I went to a yoga class about a year ago.
It was taught by a friend of mine who is highly trained so I trusted that he would be able to adapt the poses for my mother.
At a certain point in the class, we were asked to practice reclining supported hero pose with a bolster.
My mother needed extra props to make the pose semi-comfortable, so both the teacher and I were scrambling to bring extra bolsters and blankets to mold the pose for her tight muscles.
After propping her with several bolsters and multiple blankets, I looked over at my mother with a smile. I was so proud that there she was, age 77, mastering reclining hero.
“Do you want me to take your picture?” I asked.
“If you do,” she responded, “I will cut you out of my will!”
Needless to say, no photographic evidence of this event actually exists!
Here’s the truth: you may be so tight that you can’t lie all the way back on just one bolster as I am doing in the photograph accompanying this article.
So please follow these directions:
- Place a yoga bolster on a yoga mat or soft, cushy rug.
- Kneel in front of the bolster. Keep your knees together in perfect alignment so that the four muscles that make up your quadriceps can stretch evenly.
- Roll the fatty party of your calf muscle – your gastrocnemius muscles for those who know their anatomy – away from the midline in the direction of your outer ankles.
- Now sit on your heels. Smile! If you can’t smile and relax, you may need more props at this point. If your knees and calf muscles are tight, start over and slide a yoga blanket underneath your knees to meet the inside of your knee caps.
- Your buttocks should meet the end of your bolster.
- Bring your hands behind you alongside the bolster.
- Gently recline over the bolster. Once again, if you can’t smile and relax you may need more props. Not to worry – you too are human and the point here is to make friends with your body. If you are super tight, place a second bolster on top of the first bolster. If you are medium tight, you can lay a series of blankets on top of the first bolster until you are supported enough so that you can actually smile and relax.
- Fine. Once you have found the level of padding you require, you can take your hands on to your heels and push your heels towards your kneecaps for extra lengthening.
- Roll the little toe side of your foot towards the ground.
- Lift and spread your chest and breathe deeply. Allow your palms to open towards the ceiling so that you open your chest muscles.
Reclining supported hero pose is a great place to practice your yoga breathing. If you would like to learn how, please watch my FREE videos on yoga breathing at this link.
So what do you get out of all this effort:
- Stretch your quadriceps, hip flexors, knees and ankles
- Release pain in your knees (believe it or not!)
- Open your heart chakra
- Open your lungs so you can breathe more easily
- Restore your energy
- Recover from adrenal burnout
- Stimulate your kidneys
- Relieve abdominal cramps
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- Improve your posture
- Restore flexibility in your spine
If you would like to learn more, call 678-612-8816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment. I will organize the bolsters and blankets for you so your entire experience is totally luxurious and relaxing.
To join our regular yoga classes or set up an appointment for private instruction, please email email@example.com or call 678-612-8816. I’ve now taught yoga for 25 years.
Yoga classes meet every Tuesday and Thursday evening, 7:30 to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.