Head to Knee Pose – Janu Sirsasana (6-8 Eggs)

"I was doing too many backbends...; one day I made up my mind to do forward bends like Janu Sirsasana---I could not stay in it even for a few minutes. My spine and back muscles became sore and I couldn't bear the soreness when I used to do forward bends. It was as if somebody was using a sledgehammer on my back. Then I determined that if I could do backbends, I should learn to do forward bends too. Since then, I keep a day for forward bends and my students follow the same routine."---B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga Wisdom & Practice

head-to-knee.jpg

Where To

  • Under sitz bones -- Lotus Booty or Reverse Lotus Booty
  • Under knee, thigh, or shin of bent knee (short stack)
  • Under knee of extended leg (2 Eggs are better than 1)
  • Under the hands

Why To

  • If your hamstrings or lower back are tight sitting on lotus booty will make therotation of the pelvis more accessible.
  • If the knee of the bent leg is supported then the inner thigh and hip flexor will be able to relax more easily, making pelvic rotation more accessible.
  • To prevent hyper-extension place Eggs under your straight knee.
  • For a more passive stretch (as in Yin Yoga, for example) place an Egg on top of your straight leg and rest your head on the Egg.

How To

  1. Come to a seated position in Lotus Booty.
  2. Extend both legs out in front of you and lift out of your lower back as you bring your weight to the front of your sitz bones.
  3. Bend 1 knee and draw that heel towards your groin. Be mindful of the propensity to pull your left hip back as well.  Try to keep both Sitz bones parallel to the front of your mat.
  4. Place an Egg, rounded side up, under the left knee, shin or thigh – wherever you feel the most comfort and support.
  5. Place 2 Eggs under your straight leg knee for support. Draw the inner thigh toward the floor, and keep your toes pointed up toward the ceiling.
  6. Lengthen the inner thigh of your bent leg as you extend out from the hip crease to the back of the knee. Allow the inner thigh to soften (there should be NO strain in the left knee).
  7. Keeping equal weight in both sitz bones, root down into the Eggs, while lifting out of your lower back and making space between your pubic bone and navel.
  8. Maintain this sense of expansion in the front body as you begin to fold forward at the hip crease. Align your sternum with the inseam of your straight leg.
  9. All forward folds originate from the rotation of the pelvis. Keeping a flat back, lengthen the front body while you soften the front ribs. Be mindful of the tendency to round your spine, which creates a false sense of folding forward. Use the Eggs in your hands to maintain extension as you lead with your sternum.

When Not To

  • If folding forward aggravates your back, come all the way out of the fold, refresh your alignment, and re-enter the pose slowly, going only as far as you can without pain.
  • If your bent knee continues to hurt, you probably need more support under that knee. Add more Eggs and try again.

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