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Head to Knee Yoga Pose – Janu Sirshasana

Head to Knee Pose

Janu Sirshasana

[JAH-new shear-SHAHS-anna]

Janu means knee. Sirsha means head. In this pose, the head is brought towards the knee to stretch the back and the hamstrings.

Benefits of Head to Knee Pose

  • Creates greater flexibility in the gluteal muscles and deep rotator muscles of the hips.
  • Stretches the piriformis and is therefore helpful in controlling the symptoms of sciatica.
  • Opens the lower ribcage, allowing for the development of deeper, more complete breathing habits.

Contraindications

  • People suffering from knee, hip, pelvic or low back pain should approach this asana with caution and begin with modifications.

Step-by-Step

  • Start in seated cross-legged pose. Stretch your left leg out and place the sole of your right foot on the inside of your left inner thigh.
  • Engage your Bandhas and lift your ribcage.
  • Square your torso toward the extended leg.
  • Make sure your extended leg is engaged with the toes pointing up toward the sky. Feel the muscles of the thigh are active, hugging the femurs.
  • Bend the knee of the extended leg.
  • Lengthen the spine from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Hinge from the hip crease to draw your chest forward. Round the spine, bringing your head towards the knee of your extended leg.
  • Place your hands on either side of the extended leg (or interlace your hands underneath the sole of the foot).
  • Feel the stability of the lower body and the lightness of the spine.
  • Straighten the extended leg just enough so you feel a stretch in the hamstring.
  • Be sure that the rim of the pelvis continues to tilt forward so that there is no pressure on the discs in the spine.
  • Relax your shoulders, facial muscles, and your mind.
  • Press your hands into the mat and exhale to walk the hands back towards the body.
  • Lift and lengthen the torso back to neutral spine.

Preparatory Poses

Counter Poses

  • Any other seated forward folds