Virasana, and its extensions into Supta Virasana, are excellent conditioners of lower limbs. Supta virasana and Adhomukha virasana are often used therapeutically for a wide range of conditions, as preparation for other types of asanas, and as a seat for pranayama. The Virasana leg positions involves flexion at the hip joint, complete flexion at the knee joint, and plantar flexion of the ankles. The ‘squeezing’ action of the legs on themselves stimulates blood circulation in the legs, the flexions at the knee and the ankles can keep these joints supple and healthy. However, this position has been a casualty of our modern lifestyle. We rarely sit on the floor, we no longer squat, and we spend a lot of time seated on chairs. As a result, this position that used to be natural just a few decades ago is now becoming difficult to more and more people. Difficulty in Virasana can be due to limitation at the hip joint, length of the hamstrings, stiffness in the knee, shortness and hardness of the calves or stiffness in the ankles. If nothing else, this is a wonderful diagnostic tool for us to identify the imbalances in our legs.
In the previous sessions of this Short Course, we have look at adaptations and modifications for the seated Virasana position. In this session, we look at forward extension from Virasana to Adhomukha virasana, and a supine extension to Supta virasana.
The session ends with breath-work preparatory to pranayama.