Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Janu Sirsasana, Head To Knee Pose
Sanskrit
जानुशीर्षासन / jānuśīrṣāsana
Pronunciation
JAH-new shear-SHAH-suh-nuh
Meaning
janu: “knee”
sīrṣa: “head”
āsana: “posture”

Introduction

Janu Sirsasana (JAH-new shear-SHAH-suh-nuh) stretches the entire back of the body where all the major muscles are. This asana stretches the hamstring and gluteal muscles and is best done after standing asanas to remove fatigue from the legs. This asana also massages all the vital organs.

Yoga is a great way for people of all ages and fitness levels to get some exercise in. A recent study found that based on injury rates per 1000 practice hours, yoga seems just as safe or safer than other types of exercises like running, etc.

Muscle Focus

Janu Sirasana works on several muscles such as

  • Hamstrings
  • Calf muscles
  • Core (Abdominal Muscles)
  • Psoas
  • Arms (Biceps)
  • Back (Trapezius and Latissimus Dorsi)
  • Glutes

Ideal For Health Conditions

  • Helps to release the hamstrings effectively by isolating the legs.
  • Helps to alleviate aches and pain caused by tight hamstring muscles.
  • Helps to relieve digestion-related issues.

Benefits of Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose

1. Helps to Tone Up the Abdominal Muscles

While bending forward our abdominal muscles contract. Hence, this pose will also help to tone up your abdominal muscles.

2. Stretches the Muscles and Tendons of the Legs and Knees

You should feel a stretch in the muscles and tendons of your legs and knees when you do this pose correctly. This will help to improve blood circulation to these tendons.

3. Relieves Pain in the Back, Shoulders, Neck, and Head

If you have pain in your back, shoulders, neck, or head, doing this pose may help to relieve it. Remember to breathe deeply while doing Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose.

4. Helps to Get Rid of Fatigue

This pose is a great way to relieve fatigue in the legs.

5. Soothing for Insomnia

If you are having trouble sleeping, doing this pose before bed may help.

6. Improves Digestion

This pose helps to improve digestion by massaging all the vital abdominal organs.

7. Relieves Aches and Pains in the Waist and Hips

Doing this pose regularly may help to reduce pain in your waist and hips caused by prolonged sitting, etc.

8. Strengthens Rib Cage

When done correctly, Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose strengthens your rib cage.  Make sure that you do not overdo it, especially if you are new to this asana. The asana also makes the spine flexible so make sure that you do not strain your back while doing this pose.

9. Helpful in Dealing with Menopause

This pose is helpful in relieving the symptoms of menopause.

10.  High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, doing this pose may help to lower it. Remember to breathe deeply and slowly while doing Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose.

11.  Sinusitis

This pose is also therapeutic for sinusitis.

12.  Stretches Entire Back Muscles

When done correctly, Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose stretches the entire back muscles.  Make sure that you do not overdo it, especially if you are new to this asana.

Contraindications

Avoid this asana if you have any disc-related conditions. Learn first to extend the spine rather than bend the spine downwards. Concave the midback to sustain the length in the lower portion of the spine. Women who are pregnant or menstruating should avoid going all the way down in this pose. Keeping the back concaved will sustain the space in their abdomen. Those with any stomach pain or cramps should avoid this pose. Sit higher on a folded blanket or a block if your hamstrings are tight.

Variations

  • Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose)
  • Janusirasana – B(Head-to-Knee Pose- B)

Preparatory Pose

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Marjarasana-Bitilasan (Cat and Cow Pose)
  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend Pose)

Beginner’s Tips

  • If you have trouble keeping your spine straight, try placing a block under your buttocks.
  • If you cannot reach your toes, then wrap a strap around your foot and hold both ends of the strap with your hands.
  • Make sure that you do not overdo it, especially if you are new to this asana. The asana also makes the spine flexible so make sure that you do not strain your back while doing this pose.

How to do Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose

  • Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Make sure that your spine is straight and your shoulders are relaxed.
  • Bend your right knee and bring your heel as close to your pelvis as possible.
  • Take a deep breath in and lift your arms overhead.
  • As you exhale, bend forward toward your extended leg from the hip joints, keeping your spine straight. Using your fingertips, try to catch your toes. If you cannot reach your toes, then wrap a strap around your foot and hold both ends of the strap with your hands.
  • Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute. Remember to breathe deeply while doing this pose.
  • To release the pose, exhale and come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Mental Benefits of Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose

  • Helpful in calming the mind.
  • Focus and concentration.
  • Helpful in relieving stress and anxiety.

Bottom Line

Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose is a great way to stretch your entire back, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles. It also massages all the vital organs in the body. Remember to breathe deeply while doing this pose for the best results. If you are new to this asana, make sure that you do not overdo it and strain your back. This pose is helpful in relieving pain in the back, shoulders, neck, and head. It is also therapeutic for insomnia, high blood pressure, and sinusitis. Janu Sirsasana or Head-To-Knee Pose is a great way to improve flexibility in the spine. Do this pose regularly to get the best results.

1 sources
  1. https://bmccomplementmedtherapies.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-019-2612-7#citeas
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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