inclusiveness · injury · yoga

Sam’s most hated yoga pose

Catherine blogged about her most uncomfortable yoga poses and what she does instead. I’ve also become “that free spirit yoga lady” who just appears to be doing her own thing in yoga class. It’s winter and I’m back at hot yoga in a studio and despite all the talk of ‘only you know your body’ and ‘this is your practice’ I feel some pressure to go along with the sequence of poses.

I thought I’d share my recent yoga frustrations with you. Or when I’m in a mood, let’s just call it “my most hated yoga pose.” It’s Hero or Virasana. Here it’s described as balm for tired legs at the end of a long day but for me it’s just excruciating pain. Also, several physios and a knee surgeon or two have just out and out told me not to do it. So I don’t.

Searching for “hero pose” on Unsplash–a royalty free photo site–the best I got was this image. Not exactly what I had in mind!

Spiderman! Photo by Stem List on Unsplash

Here’s Yoga with Adriene explaining how to set it up:

Knees are precious she tells us. Learn how to set up hero pose mindfully.

But the video also has the following text description:

” Yoga workshop! Learn the foundations of Hero Pose – or Virasana with Yoga With Adriene! Learn this delicate but powerful seated pose with at-home supports. No fancy yoga props needed. Learn to self adjust and use props intuitively and mindfully. Hero is a great stretch for the legs and feet. It can ground and calm the body with regular practice and help with digestion and bloating. Learn to explore a posture in a way that feels good. Avoid this posture if you have injury in the knee or ankle.

The bold bit is mine.

And that’s the thing. No amount of modification will help. There is no right number of blocks, no proper arrangement of towels that will fix things.

Other poses are challenging–pigeon, child’s pose, bow–but I can find modifications that work. Not in this case and that’s okay. There is no way to make all the yoga poses work for every body despite what some yoga teachers seem to think.

Instead, you can find me off doing my own thing. And I’ll join you again for the next posture.

Is there a yoga pose that your body simply can’t do? No matter how many modifications? Make feel less alone here. Tell me your story. 🙂

9 thoughts on “Sam’s most hated yoga pose

  1. Any yoga teacher that thinks that everyone can find a modification for a pose really is missing the point. I’m thankful that in my training I learned this…the point is to think about why you’re offering it (& what the most important component is) to think of ways to offer alternatives (which are different than modifications & variations). Is it rest? Is it a meditation spot? A quad stretch? Then move from there to help a student…then give them room to say no & do what feels good.

  2. Ironically, for me it is Sukhasana or ‘easy pose’. I cannot sit cross legged, never have, even as a kid it was incredibly painful due to a lack of external rotation in my R hip.

  3. Ugh. I can barely do half hanuaman (half splits), much less anything g beyond. But happily my yoga teacher always provides all the variations, plus my class often has fellow middle aged women, and several of them are in the same boat as me, so I am not alone. I understand the intent of the stretch, and I feel it, so I am achieving it at the right level for me! (I recognize now that I had a series of very good teachers in the beginning of my practice who taught over and over again that only we know what is right for our bodies)

  4. My shoulders are too tight for upward facing bow pose(or wheel).even after 6 years of daily practice.
    I stick with bridge.
    I practiced the entire time I had a broken foot. Almost anything can be done seated or reclined.
    I think I’m a much better teacher for this.

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