Learning the Language of Yoga: Head to Knee Pose (#Janu Sirsana A) #MovementMonday
Janu Sirsana A, or head to knee pose, is easy to find from Baddha Konasana. Once your muscles have relaxed and opened, this is a great way to deepen the stretch in your hips and lower back. The bonus? Your hamstrings get some attention as well.
- Getting into it: From Baddha Konasana, extend your left leg straight out and keep the right knee bent. Draw the heel of your right foot into your groins, and rest the sole of the foot gently against the inner left thigh (avoid the knee). Try to let your right knee drop down closer to the mat by grounding the inner thigh. No forcing. Inhale to lengthen your spine, and exhale to slightly turn the torso to your straightened left leg. Line up your navel with the middle of your left thigh. Then, inhale to extend from your groins and gently melt over your left leg. As you drop deeper, bend the elbows out to the sides. When you’re quite advanced in this pose, focus on lowering your belly to your left thigh first. The head and neck are last to lower. Repeat the same actions on the other side, and note any differences in your body.
Tips and tricks:
- Keep your torso long on both sides, and avoid letting your back hunch as you hinge forward.
- Challenge yourself by bending your knee more to bring the angle between your legs past 90 degrees.
- Use a strap around the foot of the straightened leg to help you deepen into the pose.
- Place a blanket under your sitting bones to help you melt forward and keep your hips level.
- Stretches your spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groins.
- Calms your mind and can help with mild depression.
- Stimulates the functioning of your liver and kidneys.
- Helps improve digestion.
One of my yoga mentors performs this pose with us each class. This shows that even very experienced instructors experience many benefits in this pose. He loves saying his version of the sanskirt name – simply, Janu A!
Natalie Anthony, BA, RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
After a serious accident, Natalie was revived by discovering the physical and emotional benefits of yoga. Her yoga journey began as a client at Balance, and evolved into a passion for teaching the practice to others. Natalie is registered with the International Yoga Alliance as an instructor. Her creative sequencing inspires students to develop strength, flexibility and joy – both on and off the mat. Natalie instructs group classes and facilitates private one-on-one Yoga sessions at Balance, a Toronto boutique fitness and wellness centre. balancefit.com