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  • Utthitha Vira Asana

    [ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 65 ]

    Vira (sometimes written veerya or veera) is the Sanskrit word for "hero" or "heroic one." Thus, this is known as the "pose of the hero." There are several variations of poses that use the term vira, both from the sitting and standing positions. Here we use the simple utthitha (or upright) vira asana.

    (NOTE: Sometimes this pose is also referred to as vajra vira asana)


    • Take a position sitting on the heels (as in vajra asana) with the toes turned under. (Hence, sometimes you will hear this posture also referred to as vajra vira asana.)
    • Sit with the feet and heels together, the spine straight and head and neck in-line with the spine.
    • Relax your hands upon your thighs, or hold them in yoga mudra.


    One variation from this posture occurs by drawing one knee up and placing the foot flat on the floor.
    Maintain a forward gaze, if possible upon a point of concentration directly at eye level.

    Various mudras can be added in this position, such as namaskara mudra, where the hands are held in ‘prayer position’ in front of the chest while performing simple sukha pranayama, or savitri pranayama (to be learned in an upcoming lesson).

    Alternately, anjali mudra, “the gesture of highest devotion,” can be performed by raising the hands together over the head on the inhalation and lowering them back to namaskara mudra on the exhalation.

    After performing either of these for a series of breaths, change your foot positions and repeat on the other side.


    A further variation can be performed from this first variation position, whereby the forward foot/leg can be fully extended to the front, with the heel balanced on the floor.
    • Again, anjali mudra can be performed on an inhalation, with the hands returning to namaskara mudra on the exhale
    • Follow this by performing aagra mudra, extending the arms/hands directly forward in front of the chest on the inhalation and returning them to namaskara mudra on the exhalation (not shown).
    • This sequence of movements with the breath can be repeated several times.

    Effects and Benefits

    Vira asana and its variations are excellent positions for developing the concentration needed to hold steady and firm within the asanas, an ability we need to develop. These postures also have a positive effect in releasing sexual tension and frustration, and help to stabilize sexual anxieties and uncontrolled sexual desire.


    NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.

    "The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of

    leather binding and an honored place in the
    finest libraries in the world 
    ... It is indeed a masterful work."


    Dr. John Michael Christian


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