Supta Virasana is a terrific stomach stretcher. Just what I needed today after experiencing the Big Xmas Day Indulgence, followed by the Big Boxing Day Seafood Extravaganza. My stomach was a tight as a drum head in this morning’s practice, and I didn’t even know it until I did the pose.
Stomachs are special organs and need to be well-catered for. Think of all the great expressions that relate to this organ: butterflies in the stomach, gut feelings, armies marching on their stomachs.
We who are health-oriented know that stomachs need to be well-exercised, too. That’s part of why we do our asanas utilising the bandhas – Mulabandha and Uddiyanabandha – and include Navasana and Paripurna Navasana in our practice.
However, Supta Virasana will always be the premier pose for stretching the stomach. It’s great as a back bend preparation as well as relieving tired or restless legs.
If you find this pose rather inaccessible for reasons relating to your back, knees or feet, you can prop yourself up quite high on upright foam blocks – one for your head and one for your mid back area. Or, use a bolster as you see illustrated in the drawing while keeping a block between your knees instead of trying to keep them together.
In my yoga practises over the years, I’ve noticed that Supta Baddha Konasana done for 5 minutes followed by Supta Virasana done for equal time create a calm state of mind. So, you can try doing the combination at the end of a practice to cultivate equanimity for pranayama or meditation.