Vajrasana and Virasana: Find Comfort With Some Simple Yoga Tricks
Article At A Glance
Both Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) and Hero’s Pose (Virasana) are classic seated yoga postures that offer a number of benefits. But one huge drawback to these positions is that they can cause discomfort or even pain in the knees for a plethora of reasons. Both positions require extremely deep knee flexion, and Virasana even adds slight rotation in the knee joint to be able to sit down between the heels. But fear not! There is a very simple trick that you can utilize to find more comfort and ease in both Vajrasana and Virasana!
Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) and Hero’s Pose (Virasana) are classic seated yoga postures with many benefits. But one huge drawback to these positions is that they can cause discomfort or even pain in the knees for a plethora of reasons.
Both positions require extremely deep knee flexion, and Virasana even adds slight rotation in the knee joint to be able to sit down between the heels. For some, this is simply too much pressure and torque on the knee joints.
But fear not! There is a very simple trick that you can utilize to find more comfort and ease in both Vajrasana and Virasana!
Here’s Your Step-by-Step Guide to Practice Traditional Vajrasana and Virasana
These are the classic variations of these shapes, but they’re not the only ways to practice them! This is a good starting position to understand the basic shapes of these poses but read on to find more ways to practice these positions that might be more comfortable for you than the traditional variations.
- Start in Tabletop Pose (Bharmanasana) with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees.
- Draw your legs together and untuck your toes.
- Release the weight of your hips onto your heels to find traditional Vajrasana. (shown above in the header image)
- Option to lift your hips and slide your heels apart toward the outer edges of your mat. Use your hands to manually draw the flesh of your calves toward the outer edges of your mat to give yourself space to release your seat toward the floor between your heels to find traditional Virasana (Hero’s Pose).
Try These Simple Yoga Tricks to Find Greater Comfort and Ease in Both Vajrasana and Virasana
Because the knees are in such deep flexion in both Thunderbolt Pose and Hero’s Pose, these shapes can be anything from challenging to even downright painful for some practitioners.
But there is a truly simple trick that can (hopefully!) help alleviate any discomfort or pain in these poses: utilize props!
The simple act of elevating your hips in these positions will reduce the flexion required in your knees to practice them. There is a wide range of props that you can use to find the optimal height for your unique body so that neither of these positions causes discomfort due to excessive knee flexion.
1. Use a Blanket to Reduce Flexion
The smallest change in knee flexion would come from a slight elevation in your hips and a small barrier behind your knees to reduce some flexion.
Simply place a folded blanket (you get to decide its thickness!) behind your knees before you sit your hips down into the poses.
This little bit of elevation and cushioning inside the joint space may be enough for you to find comfort in these poses. If you need more space, then try the next version.
2. Use a Block(s) Experiment with What Works
Sometimes, you need more space to elevate your hips even higher to reduce the pressure on your knee joints. Simply sitting your seat onto a yoga block (or stack of blocks) will help to create more height in your torso and reduce the amount of flexion required in your knees to come into these poses.
Place a block (or a few blocks) underneath your seat to elevate your hips (and, therefore, give more space to your knee joints).
If you feel you need a bit more space, then try the next version.
3. Use a Chair for the Most Elevation
You can also practice Vajrasana and Virasana in a chair to get even more hip elevation to reduce knee flexion. What’s nice about this version is that you can practice these poses just about anywhere—at your work desk, in a restaurant, at your kitchen table, and more!
To use a chair, just sit at the edge of the chair seat and separate your legs to be roughly as wide as the chair. Then, draw your feet back toward the back of your chair and release the tops of your feet toward the floor as you lift and lengthen your spine.
This option gives you plenty of hip elevation, so minimal flexion is required in your knees.
Practice Video: Elevate Your Hips to Find Greater Comfort in Vajrasana and Virasana
Try these options to see if one version of these hip-elevated shapes feels better on your knees.
If you still find discomfort, it might be time to look at alternative shapes to these postures. After all, the yogic repertoire offers a plethora of other seated postures that have just as much benefit as Vajrasana and Virasana. These particular poses may not be well suited for your unique body.
Play around and experiment in your practice to see what works best for you!