Half-Hero Pose: Television Yoga for Tight Quads

How to practice Hero's Pose or Virasana with the support of blankets and yoga blocks.

Article At A Glance

Are your quads chronically tight? If so, you’re not alone. Hero Pose can feel daunting to new yoga students, but this article eases you into an accessible version of the shape to provide relief for tight quads. Bonus: You can even watch your favorite show while you’re doing it!

One of the most fruitful areas for a new yoga practitioner to explore is television yoga. It’s not a formal practice. You don’t have to wear special clothes, roll out a mat or light a candle. And if you watch TV, talk on the phone, or sit and listen to music, you don’t even have to make time for it. You have to be willing to devote some of your sitting-down time to gentle, intelligent work with your body. Any seated hip opener will do. But if you’d like to stretch out tight quads (front thighs), it’s hard to beat Half-Hero Pose (Ardha Virasana).

How to Practice Half-Hero Pose

  1. Sit on the floor with some yoga blocks at your side. Bend one leg back in Hero Pose (Virasana). Bend theHow to practice Half Hero Pose or Ardha Virasana and watch TV too. other knee and rest your foot on the floor.
  2. Put as many blocks under your buttocks as you need to sit comfortably. You can also add folded blankets or a pillow if you like. Unbreakable rule: you should have no pain in your bent knee. Even if what you feel is just a small electrical pulse running across the front of your knee, sit higher. Check that your bent knee faces directly forward and that your inner ankle draws toward the blocks.
  3. Now lean back, supporting yourself with your hands. Curl your tailbone toward your pubic bone. Draw your thigh bone deeper into your hip socket on the bent knee side.
  4. Find an intense but still pleasant stretch in your front thigh muscles.
  5. Hold it for at least a minute, preferably longer. Then change sides.

For most of us, one front thigh is noticeably tighter than the other. Once you know which is which, start on your tight side, alternate with the easier side, then give the tight side an extra minute or two of stretch.

As your tight front thighs begin to loosen, you will need fewer blocks. Eventually, you may be able to lie down in Half-Hero Pose.

Benefits of Television YogaHow to practice Warrior 1 and watch TV and as preparation for Ardha Virasana or Half Hero Pose

Do this as television yoga, and you’ll have the joy of knowing that you’re not just vegging. You’re helping your body gain some flexibility. Do it daily for at least five minutes, and the next time you do Warrior I Pose (Virabhadrasana I) in class, you’ll find a different, more open pose.

The quads are the strongest muscles in your body. Keeping them strong but flexible helps prevent knee injuries. And as you move more deeply into your yoga practice, stretching tight quads will give your backbends more freedom.

How to Sequence Half-Hero Pose

How to practice Supta Ardha Virasana in preparation for practicing Ardha Virasana or Half Hero's Pose

Any time you’re sitting down and relaxing you have an opportunity to stretch your quadriceps in Half-Hero Pose. In a longer practice, Half-Hero Pose is especially helpful before lunges and backbends. If your practice includes Reclining Hero Pose (Supta Virasana), working one leg at a time as preparation will help you move more easily into the full pose.

If the Pose is Uncomfortable

If your front thighs are tight, go slowly. As you lean back, find the first place you feel a stretch. Stay there and breathe. Resist the temptation to push into pain. Try these modifications if you’re feeling discomfort:

  • If the front of your ankle hurts, put a rolled-up facecloth under your ankle joint.
  • If the back of your bent knee feels compressed, come up to kneeling and put a folded yoga strap or a folded sock or face cloth deep into the knee joint at the back of your knee. If you can’t get a good front thigh stretch without compressing your knee, don’t work with this position. Talk to your teacher about alternatives.
Reprinted with permission from Eve Johnson.
Eve Johnson, writer, yoga teacher

Eve Johnson taught Iyengar Yoga for 18 years before being introduced to Spinefulness in 2016. Convinced by the logic, clarity, and effectiveness of Spinefulness alignment, she took the teacher training course and was certified in July 2018. Eve teaches Spineful Yoga over Zoom and offers an online Spinefulness Foundations course. For course information, go to http://spinefulness.ca.

Recent articles


Upcoming courses

Yoga for
every body

How to Avoid the Top 3 Pitfalls of Forward Bends

With Julie Gudmedstad

Recent articles


Sorry, You have reached your
monthly limit of views

To access, join us for a free 7-day membership trial to support expanding the Pose Library resources to the yoga community.

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial