1. From a seated position on the heels, extend the right leg straight out in front of you, slide the left foot out so that the buttocks can rest on the floor with the heel next to the hips.
2. Slowly and carefully walk the hands behind you, lowering the back towards the floor.
3. Come as low to the floor as comfortable, first lowering to the elbows, then to the crown of the head, and eventually on to the back of the neck.
4. Rest the hands along side the body, or along the floor over the head with the palms together.
5. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths.
6. To release: hold on to the ankles or feet and press into the elbows using the arms to lift the head and torso back off the floor. Walk the hands back to the hips, coming back to a seated position.
7. Repeat on other side.
Benefits: Half Supine Hero pose provides a powerful stretch to the front of the thighs and increases flexibility in the knees, hips and spine.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic knee injury or inflammation.
Modifications: Place bolster, or cushion under the upper back or head for support.
Variations: Inhale arms over the head, and A) Reach out through the fingertips, B) Cross the arms holding onto the elbows, or C) interlace fingers and press out through the palms, D) Cross the arms and place the palms beneath the opposite shoulders so that the crossed wrists serve as a cushion for the head.
This pose is also called Ardha Supta Vrajrasana or Half Supine Diamond pose.