Seated Head to Knee

janu sirsasana

Level: Beginner

Instructions

1. Seated in Bound Angle or Easy pose, extend the right leg straight out in front of you, place the bottom of the left foot against the right thigh. Pull the right leg in to square the hips to the front wall.

2. Inhale the arms up and reach out of the waist lengthening the spine.

3. Keep the length as you exhale forward, bending the right knee enough to interlace the fingers around the foot and to place the head against the knee.

4. Work the posture by pressing the head down into the knee, sliding the right heel away from you, lengthening the right leg. Keep the head pressed to the knee while straightening the leg as much as you can. For a deeper stretch in the leg, press the heel away and pull the toes towards your head.

5. Relax the shoulders, neck and face. Make sure the shoulders are parallel to the floor. Use the arms only enough to keep the head in contact with the knee.

6. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

7. To release: inhale the arms up over your head, exhale them to the floor. Repeat other side.

Benefits + Contraindications

Benefits: Seated head to knee stretches the back and deeply stretches the back of the legs. This posture calms the mind and emotions, stimulates the nervous, reproductive, endocrine and urinary systems.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic back or knee injury or inflammation.

Modifications + Variations

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.

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.

Vinyasa

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence leading up to this pose: Bound Angle, Double Pigeon, Upward Boat, Flowering Lotus.

Use one or more of the following postures to build a sequence ending after this pose: Half Circle, Seated Twist, Revolved Head to Knee, Half Up Boat.

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