In reclining half hero pose, you lay on your back with one shin folded to the outside of the thigh. Ideally both butt cheeks are resting on the floor.
The process of laying back can be painful and so the first step in working towards this pose is to do it while sitting upright.
You may find that your hero side butt cheek doesn't touch the floor and so your first goal can be that of letting your hip sink down inside your hero leg.
I had the same problem when I first started and a teacher told me to move my foot out to the side and let my hip gradually sink down.
To speed up the process you can practice sitting up tall and then relaxing in time with your breath. As you sit up tall press down with your straight leg so that you push your weight over your hero leg helping the hip sink down. Then relax and slouch and let your weight move towards your straight leg while you exhale.
To sit up even taller you may find it helps to interlace your fingers and push your palms up towards the ceiling.
Once your hero side hip or butt cheek starts getting closer to the floor your can start working on laying back. You may find that laying back adds even more weight to your hero leg hip so even if your butt doesn't touch the floor, laying back may help.
You may find it easier to bend your straight leg arm. Lean back on your straight leg side, and once that elbow is on the floor, then try to get your hero side elbow on the floor.
You can make yourself more comfortable by laying back on some blocks or a bolster.
To lay all the way down you might first try putting the crown of your head on the floor, and then partially propping yourself with your head and neck then move your arms out to the side to lower your ribcage.
For myself my left quad tends to be a little tight and so when doing reclining half hero pose with my left knee bent my knee tends to lift.
The first step is for me to lift my hips and try shifting them either left or right or slightly forwards or back relative to my knee. I can usually find a position for my pelvis (relative to my knee) that makes it easier for my knee to sink down. Generally I like to think of this as creating room in the hip joint. By moving my pelvis relative to my half hero knee, I can find a position where my hip is open and thus facilitate my knee lowering to the floor.
Another trick is to press down with the hero foot. This action, pressing down, adds tension to the leg and that tension can often times be enough to make my knee sink down of its own accord.
Once you are on your back in reclining half hero you can reach one or both arms back. I like to focus on my lower back ribs (near the kidney area). Instead of reaching just my arms back, I reach my lower back ribs away from my pelvis also. The feeling is like I'm lengthening (or trying to lengthen) my lower back.
You could also first reach just your hero arm back. Reach your leg forward at the same time. Then when you reach your other arm back focus on lenthening both sides of your body. Reach your arms back and your legs forwards.
For a change in reclining half hero, and to increase the quad stretch, bend your other knee, place the foot on the floor and lift the pelvis. Try to keep your half hero knee on the floor.
To increase the quad stretch in reclining half hero even more hug the lifted knee to the chest.
You may find that you tip to the side when doing this so brace your self with your lifted leg elbow.
Another option is to straighten the lifted knee. Try grabbing the knee first and then gradually work your hands towards your foot.
You may find this variation easier if you grab your foot with your opposite hand so that you can brace yourself with your free hand.
Friction and pressure are two simple techniques that I use to help my students get stronger and more flexible. These simple techniques also offer a roadway into not only learning how to activate your muscles, but getting a feel for them and your body. Three challenging yoga poses that I use these techniques in are chaturanga, front splits and side splits. While they might not help you get all the way down into the splits, they'll help you feel stronger, and more integrated as you work towards them. And because I've got to pay for my daughters schooling this week, I'm offering a discount on the frictional muscle control videos. (First 100 people only can save over 30%).
Active stretching teaches you muscle control to not only improve flexibility but also body awareness. You'll learn how to adjust postures for better feel as well as more control through a broader range of motion.
Standing exercises for low back pain plus anatomy that can affect the low back and how to use that anatomical understanding.
Experience your body (and understand it) with sensational yoga poses.
Is it a bad idea to heel strike while barefoot running? What are the possible benefits of heel striking? When should you not heel strike?
These yoga poses for abs work on the abdominal muscles (and hips) in both standing positions and seated positions.
Sensational yoga poses, lessons to help you enjoy the experience of your body.
Here are the Ashtanga Standing Pose Vinyassas, with inhale movements highlighted in red.
These seated yoga poses have been organized into a rough routine and include lotus, virasana, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
In this preparation for compass pose use your arms to pull your leg towards you for a seated hamstring stretch. To modify, use a strap.
Single joint hip flexors include iliacus, pectineus, obturators, gemelli and gluteus minimus. Use them to help improve your forward bends.
Sensational Yoga ebooks and videos are designed to help you experience your body while focusing on specific poses, actions or parts of the body.
Extreme stability teaches you how to work from the ground up when creating stability, whether you are doing poses on your hands or your feet (or some combination of both).
The working towards wheel pose ebook teaches you basic body first so that you can feel and control your spine, hips and shoulders, so that working towards difficult poses (in this case wheel pose) is easier.
The Muscle control for better flexibility ebook teaches you simple muscle activation techniques that can make it easier to improve your flexibility. Techniques focus on forward and back bending the hips but can be applied to other movements also.
Building up on the material for part 1, Yoga for Beginners 2 teaches you how to make your body stable for a slightly different experience of your hips and shoulders.
Video: This set of simple hip control exercises help you to stabilize the hip joint and control it. You may find these exercises help you improve hamstring and hip flexor strength and flexibility.
One approach to learning yoga is to simply practice yoga poses. The approach in Yoga For Beginners 1 is to help you to learn to feel your body while doing yoga poses.
Some of the exercises in Balance Basics includes learning to balance on the fronts of your feet as well as on one foot using weight shifting exercises. It also includes exercises for crow pose. I've included videos based on the balanace exercises in the book on this page.