Pose of the Week: Supta Virasana

Monday, 20 May 2019 17:01
This week’s pose is Supta Virasana.  Supta means lying down, Vira means hero and Asana means posture or pose.
BKS Iyengar gives the asana a ‘2’ in level of difficulty in Light on Yoga (out of 60).
BKS Iyengar in Supta Virasana in Light on Yoga (1966)
I think I speak for the majority of us when I state that really it is not a 2 out of 60 kind of pose. For many of us it is a serious challenge, we can’t get even close to the asana presented in the photo above and it can be painful.
What sort of pain is it? 
When we first start practising yoga everything seems to be painful. We have to work against not only the physical restrictions of our tightness, but also our mental resistance. It takes effort to do  the asana, to come to class, when it’s easier to be at home on the couch. It takes discipline; it’s a mental exercise. 
The physical pain can be two types: ‘right’ pain or ‘wrong’ pain. And in the beginning it is hard to discern the difference. It is all new and we’ve been told previously that if there is pain you should avoid it at all costs. But pain is our teacher. We have to face our pains and our suffering and only then can we grow, find resolution and transcend.
The best way to describe ‘right’ pain is that it is constructive, and can be exhilarating and involves challenge. ‘Wrong’ pain is often sharp and sudden. It’s a specific directive that we have gone beyond our present abilities.
BKS Iyengar describes this well in Light on Life:  “The challenge of yoga is to go beyond our limits -within reason. We continually expand the frame of the mind by using the canvas of the body. It is as if you were to stretch a canvas more and create a larger surface for a painting. But we must respect the present form of our body. If we pull too fast or too much at once, we will rip the canvas. If the practice of today damages the practice of tomorrow, it is not correct practice.” (p.50)
If you constantly remain within your comfort zone you cannot expand beyond your present limitations, you are stuck in the confines of the known and can not explore outside that boundary. Asana practice gives you the opportunity to look at the obstacles restricting that exploration. The practice equips you will the skills to deal with the difficulties in your life both on and off the mat.
See you on the mat :)
Nicole Schroeter
Certified Iyengar Teacher
Yoga Path

Become an Iyengar Yoga Teacher - undertake Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Path in Newport with Nicole Apply Here

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