janu = knee sirsa = head
Head-to-Knee Pose or Janu Sirsasana is a deep, forward bend that calms the mind and relieves stress. Often practiced along with Seated Forward Fold, it is usually practiced toward the end of a sequence, when the body is warm, to prepare the body for even deeper forward bends.
Janu Sirsasana provides a mild spinal twist that deeply stretches the hamstrings, groins, and spine. It calms the mind, relieving anxiety, fatigue, and mild depression. It is also known to be therapeutic for high blood pressure and insomnia. This pose stimulates and massages the liver and kidneys, helping to improve digestion and relieve digestive troubles. It can also provide relief from menstrual discomfort and the symptoms of menopause.
Though Janu Sirsasana is translated as “Head-to-Knee Pose,” it’s important to note that touching your head to your knee is not the most important aspect of the pose. Instead, keeping your torso long throughout the pose will help to bring a deep stretch to your hamstrings and back, without over-rounding the spine, which can cause injury.
- Calms the brain and helps relieve mild depression
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groins
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys
- Improves digestion
- Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
- Relieves anxiety, fatigue, headache, menstrual discomfort
- Therapeutic for high blood pressure, insomnia, and sinusitis
- Strengthens the back muscles during pregnancy (up to second trimester), done without coming forward, keeping your back spine concave and front torso long.
– Benefits from the Yoga Journal
Sit on floor with legs extended straight in front.
Bend the right leg and place the sole of the right foot against the inner left thigh.
Turn torso so it is inline with the left leg and foot.
Press the left palm behind the left hip on the earth.
Inhale right arm up towards the sky, lengthening.
Exhale hinge forward and reach for the left foot with the right hand.
Inhale draw left hand to meet the right.
Exhale fold over the left thigh and stay here for a few breaths and then switch sides.
Add a twist by placing opposite hand on the knee and added a fold to your straight leg.
- Place blanket or block under knee of bent leg for extra support
- Place blanket under hips
- Use strap around foot
- Frame straight leg with palms on the earth if reaching the feet is not accessible
- Use bolster on straight leg for extra support