Head to Knee pose is an opportunity to stretch out your tight hamstrings! Although the English translation of Janu Sirsasana is head to knee pose, the good news is that you don’t have to bring your head to your knee in order to do it!
Stretches the muscles of the back, spine and groin of the bent leg. Stretches the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles of the straight leg. Relaxes and calms the body and mind as you draw inward.
- Begin in a seated position with your legs extended long down your mat about hip distance apart.
- Ground down and sit evenly on the sitting bones.
- Choose one leg to bend at the knee and connect the sole of that foot to the inner thigh of the extended leg that is long down your mat.
- Press the femur of the leg extended down your mat down towards the Earth, while keeping a micro bend at the knee.
- Stack your shoulders over the hips and lengthen through the crown of your head to promote a long spine.
- Turn your navel to point towards the knee of the leg extended long down your mat.
- Hinge from the hips, reach forward with your heart and fold towards the leg extended long down your mat while keeping a long spine. At this point it’s about feeling the back of the leg extended long (the hamstrings), instead of trying to get your head to your knee.
- Broaden across the collarbone as you reach the shoulder blades towards the back of the heart.
- When you’ve reached a point where you can no longer hinge any further forward, feel free to soften at the spine and place your hands/arms wherever is comfortable.
- If you feel any low back pain, lengthen the spine, don’t fold as low and place your hands on blocks.
- Have a soft gaze, or close your eyes and you relax and focus on your breath.
- To come out of the pose, gently walk the hands in as you roll yourself back up to sitting tall. Feel free to wiggle and shake out your legs after the stretch!
If your hamstrings are tight or feel like they are intensely pulling, deepen the bend in the knee of the leg that is extended long down your mat. Feel free to place a blanket or towel under both knees for support. If there is rounding in the low back then sit on the edge of a folded blanket, a pillow or a block.