Janu Sirsasana or the Head to Knee Pose is an excellent asana to increase flexibility of the hamstring muscles, back, thighs, hip joints, arms and the shoulders. Janu Sirsasana also soothes the mind and calms the heart. Janu Sirsasana should ideally be performed when the stomach is empty. It is a great stretching exercise for the whole body. Stretching in Janu Sirsasana can be a great way to bring awareness to your thoughts of resistance and limitation. When you’re faced with stiffness and tightness, it can be easy to think you can force your way through the blocks. Instead, allow yourself to be exactly where you are in the moment. Forcing a forward fold will only cause more stiffness and resistance. Remember to breathe smoothly and evenly. Let your thoughts settle and turn inward. As you become present in the moment, your body will begin to open up naturally and without resistance.
Step by step
- Sit with the legs outstretched in front of you (Staff Pose / Dandasana).
- Inhale bend your right knee and place the right foot against the left inner thigh, exhale let the right knee rest on (or towards) the floor.
- Flex the left foot, press the top of the thigh down, lengthen the spine on an inbreath and on an outbreath turn the spine a little to face the left leg and then fold forward from the hips.
- Keep your spine long, chest open and shoulders drawn down. Relax your face.
- Take hold of your foot, ankle or wherever your hands reach on your leg. If your hands come past your foot you can take hold of the right wrist with the left hand and bind around the left foot
- Stay in the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Inhale to come out of the pose.
- Calms the mind and is therapeutic for mild depression.
- Stimulates digestion.
- Stretches the hips, back of the body and groins.
- Relieves menstrual discomfort, headache, anxiety and fatigue.
- Stimulates the kidneys and liver.
Modifications: A) Use a yoga strap around foot of the straight leg and hold with both hands. B) Use a blanket under the bent knee to reduce straining the knee joint.MODIFICATIONS + VARIATIONS
Variations: If you have the flexibility, reach the hands in front of the foot, clasping hand to wrist. A more advanced variation on this pose is Half bound Lotus Forward Bend.