Heron Pose / Krounchasana
Step by step
- Sit in Dandasana, with your legs outstretched in front of you.
- Exhale bend your right knee and bring the foot next to the right hip. So the top of the foot is on the floor and toes are pointing back into Half Virasana Pose.
- Make sure you are sitting evenly on both sit bones. You can use a block or folded blanket under both sit bones or the sit bone of the straight leg.
- Bend your left leg, place the foot on the floor. Take hold of the left foot with both hands.
- Keep the shoulder blades firm on the back, to keep the chest open. On an inhalation begin to straighten your left leg, while keeping the spine long, chest open and the sternum lifted.
- Once the leg is straight, exhale and bring the leg in close to the chest. If you can maintain all the previous actions bring the head towards the shin bone.
- Hold for around 5 breaths and release the leg on an exhalation and come back into Dandasana.
- Stretches the bent leg thigh, ankle and shin.
- Stretches the back of the straight leg, including the achilles tendon.
- Improves core stability.
- Work on practicing Hero Pose / Virasana and forward bennds first to prepare for the full pose.
- To help straighten the leg, place a strap around the sole of your foot, or hold your hands around the thigh, so you can work with partially stretching the leg. Make sure your chest stays open.
Watch out for
- Please avoid or modify this pose if you suffer from ankle or knee problems. Try the Janu Sirsasana variation described below.
- Check you are keeping the natural curves in your back as much as possible so that you are not rounding in the lower back.
- If you have tight hamstrings go slowly, you can keep the extended leg bent or hold around the thigh with the leg further away from you.
- If you have knee or ankle problems you can try a variation where the bent leg is in Janu Sirsasana position instead or half Virasana.
- Add a twist to this pose. Take the outside of the raised leg with the hand of the opposite side. Use the other hand to to press on the floor behind you. Allow the leg to swing slightly to the opposite side on the exhale. At the same time, twist the torso towards the raised leg. Hold for a few breaths and come out on the exhale.
- Make the stretch more intense by bringing the leg and the torso closer together. In the full expression of this pose, your chin will rest against your extended leg. Take care of your hamstrings!
- Complementary poses
- Try it in class