Step by Step
Kneel on the floor and cross the front of the right ankle over the back of the left. The feet will point out to the sides. Sit back so the perineum snuggles down onto the on the top (right) heel.
Press your palms firmly against your knees. Fan the palms and splay your fingers like the sharpened claws of a large feline.
Take a deep inhalation through the nose. Then simultaneously open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin, open your eyes wide, contract the muscles on the front of your throat, and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct "ha" sound. The breath should pass over the back of the throat.
Some texts instruct us to set our gaze (drishti) at the spot between the eyebrows. This is called "mid-brow gazing" (bhru-madhya-drishti; bhru = the brow; madhya = middle).Other texts direct the eyes to the tip of the nose (nasa-agra-drishti; nasa = nose; agra = foremost point or part, i.e., tip).
You can roar two or three times. Then change the cross of the legs and repeat for the same number of times.
Pose Level 1
Contraindications and Cautions
If you have a knee injury, always be cautious in flexed-knee sitting positions and, if necessary, sit on a chair to do the pose.
Modifications and Props
If you find the leg position described above to be uncomfortable, simply sit in Virasana. Sit on a block positioned between your feet.
Deepen the Pose