Stretch & release your back, hamstrings, and mind in Head-to-Knee Pose…
Head-to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana), also sometimes translated as “Head-of-Knee Pose,” is a seated deep forward bend that helps to stretch and release the entire body as well as calm the mind and reduce stress. It is a wonderful pose for stretching the hamstrings, groin, back, shoulders, and more, while relieving anxiety, fatigue, and possibly even mild depression. This is also a therapeutic pose for high blood pressure and insomnia, and it stimulates the liver and kidneys, improves digestion, and may provide relief for menstrual and menopausal discomfort.
This pose is often practiced before or after Seated Forward Fold, usually towards the end of a sequence when your body is warmed up. Despite the name, touching your head to your knee is actually not the most important goal of this pose. Instead, focus on keeping your torso long and your spine straight rather than rounded. It is important to remain relaxed in this pose, and don’t force it! In fact, forcing a forward fold may not only cause injury, but it can also make the pose more difficult and less effective. Remember to take it slowly, and focus on keeping your torso long and your spine extended. Fold forward form the hips, not the waist, and feel free to use a strap if needed. Work on gradually relaxing into the pose, and bringing your belly to your thighs, rather than your head toward your knee.
Those suffering from asthma or diarrhea should avoid this pose, and if you have a back or knee injury, consult with your doctor and a qualified yoga instructor before practicing this pose.
Here are some basic instructions for performing Head-to-Knee Pose, from YogaOutlet.com:
- Sit on the edge of a firm blanket, with your legs extended in front of you in Staff Pose (Dandasana). Bring the sole of your left foot to the inside of your right thigh.
- Align the center of your torso with your right leg (a mild twist). Keeping your spine long, exhale as you hinge forward from the hips to fold over your right leg. Imagine your torso coming to rest on your right thigh, rather than reaching your nose toward your knee (so, bend at your waist). Draw your right thigh down and flex your foot.
- Hold onto your right leg’s shin, ankle, or foot. You can also wrap a yoga strap or towel around the sole of your right foot and hold it firmly with both hands.
- Keep the front of your torso long; do not round your back. Let your belly touch your thigh first, and then your chest. Your head and nose should touch your leg last.
- With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso. With each exhalation, fold deeper.
- old for 30 seconds. To release the pose, draw your tailbone toward the floor as you inhale and lift your torso. Extend your left leg. Repeat the pose on the opposite side.
- If your hamstrings or low back are extremely tight, place a rolled-up blanket or yoga mat beneath the knee of your extended leg.
- If you can’t comfortably grasp the foot or ankle of your extended leg, use a yoga strap. Wrap the strap around the sole of your extended-leg foot and hold onto it with both hands.
- If it’s easy to clasp your hands around the sole of your extended-leg foot, you can deepen the pose by placing a block at the sole of that foot and holding that, instead.
- For a greater challenge, you can widen the angle between your legs beyond 90 degrees.
Read More at YogaOutlet.com.