I often call Heron Pose (or Krounchasana) the ultimate hamstring stretcher, as it is a great, and deep, way to open the back of your legs.
Heron can be quite tricky for people with tight hamstrings, but there are a number of variations we can work on still achieving the same benefits this pose has to offer.
Here I explain how to get into the pose step by step along with some fun (and more accessible) variations. Enjoy!
Getting into the pose
From a seated position with straight legs, tall spine (Dandasana), bring your left leg into Ardha Virasana (half kneeling).
Bend your right knee and interlace your fingers under your right foot.
Keeping your torso tall (sacrum tucked in, front lifting and chest open), lift your right leg up towards the ceiling. Your leg may not go fully straight but focus on keeping the torso lifted. Hold for around 30 seconds, then bend your right knee as you lower your right foot. Repeat on the other side.
If having the bottom leg in Half Kneeling (Ardha Virasana) feels difficult and uncomfortable, start by practising with the bottom leg in Janu Sirsasana as shown below.
You can also practice with your back against a wall in order to help you to keep your body lifted.
Finally, using a yoga strap is a great way to make your arms longer, allowing you to straighten your leg without affecting the shape of the spine!