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Janu Sirsasana or Head To Knee Pose

Benefits, Contraindications, Tips and How to Do

English Name(s)
Head To Knee Pose
Sanskrit
जानुशीर्षासन / jānuśīrṣāsana
Pronunciation
JAH-noo sheer-SHAH-suh-nuh
Meaning
Janu = Knee
Sirsa = Head
Asana = Pose; Posture

Janu Sirsasana at a Glance

Janu Sirsasana or Head-to-Knee Pose, gives you a gentle stretch of the body and helps you ease digestion, stress, and back discomfort. It can help you calm your mind and help with depression, and can also relieve your menstrual pain.

Benefits:

  • Janu Sirsasanaa helps with better digestion.
  • It also helps to reduce stress.
  • It stretches your hips to help with your backache
  • Janu Sirsasana helps with menstrual pain.
  • Helps to relax your body.

Who can do it?

Janu Sirsasana is a beginner-level pose and can be done by children, seniors, people with digestive issues, who want to ease joint stiffness, people with liver and kidney problems, and also people who are stressed due to various reasons.

Who should not do it?

People who have injuries in the arms, knee, back, or legs should avoid doing the Janu Sirsasana pose. People suffering from asthma, chronic joint pain, Gastrointestinal issues, COPD, or chronic shortness of breath should avoid doing it.

How to Do Janu Sirsasana

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Janu Sirsasana, also known as the Head-to-Knee Pose. This yoga posture offers many physical and mental benefits. It’s a gentle pose but has a great impact if practiced consistently.
  2. Start by sitting on the mat, keep your legs outstretched in front of you as you would sit in Dandasana, and sit tall and feel grounded.
  3. Just bend your right knee, (bent knee should be pointing out to the side) and the sole of your right foot should touch the inner part of the left thigh of the left leg. Let your right knee rest on the floor comfortably.
  4. In Janu Sirsasana while you inhale deeply, extend your arm up above your head, feel the stretch, lengthen your spine, and keep your core engaged.
  5. Slightly turn your upper body, as you exhale in head to knee pose bend from your hips gently and reach your left foot and if that’s not possible you can place your hands on the shin. You can use a yoga strap to maintain a straight back if you find it difficult to reach your foot.
  6. Keep your shoulders relaxed, spine long and chest open.
  7. You can stay for 5 to 10 breaths. Let your body stretch and relax by focusing on the breath in the Janu Sirsasana Pose (head-to-knee pose).
  8. To come out of the Janu Sirsasana pose inhale gently lift your torso back and extend your right leg, back to the Dandasana pose. Now repeat the same process with the other leg.

What are the Benefits of Janu Sirsasana?

Digestive Issues

The gentle compression applied to the abdomen during the pose can facilitate digestion and provide relief from discomfort after meals. Janu Sirsasana also stimulates your kidneys and liver.

Anxiety and Stress

Janu Sirsasana’s soothing nature can work wonders in lowering stress and anxiety levels, promoting a sense of calmness.

Mild Backache

This seated forward bend pose is for people who need to sit for long hours or drive (bike and car) for long distances and can experience lower back pain and stiffness. Stretching your back can prevent and help you manage postural problems.

Menstrual Discomfort

Head-to-knee pose is one of the best benefits for women who are suffering from menstrual issues. This pose massages your reproductive organs and can prevent menstrual discomfort.

Overall Relaxation

Staying for a few breaths in this pose can naturally calm your brain and help with better focus. It reduces stress and anxiety and offers overall relaxation. With the regular practice of the Janu Sirsasana (Head to knee) pose, individuals can achieve immense benefits and improve their physical and mental health.  Consistency is the best way to increase your benefits.  

Health Conditions that Might Benefit from Janu Sirsasana

Janu Sirsasana for Gastritis

It improves gastritis by lowering stress.

Diabetes

This yoga pose can manage your blood sugar levels.

Head Knee Pose for Spinal Health

This pose can strengthen and improve the flexibility of your spine.

Insomnia

Helps you relax by improving your sleep quality.

Immunity

 The forward bend pose can boost the immune system and stimulate the production of white blood cells.

Safety and Precautions

While Janu Sirsasana is generally safe for many individuals, it’s essential to take precautions:

  • If you experience pain in your lower back, use a props cushion, blanket, or yoga strap.
  • If you are suffering from knee injuries or chronic lower back issues it’s best that you avoid doing the head-to-knee pose or modify the pose. You can use props under a yoga teacher’s guidance after consulting your healthcare professional.
  • Pregnant women can do the Janu Sirsasana pose under the supervision of the prenatal yoga teacher by modifying the pose or using props. They should avoid deep bends. For their safety should consult their doctor as well.
  • If you feel any pain or discomfort, gently come out of the head-to-knee pose.
  • If you experience pain or discomfort in your hip or hamstring, do it under the guidance of your yoga teacher or try using comfortable props. Avoid overstretching the injured area.
  • People having high BP should be careful with forward bends.
  • If recently you had any eye surgery, avoid head movement, which could strain your eyes.

Common Mistakes

To improve the benefits of Janu Sirsasana and prevent strain, avoid making these mistakes.

Skipping Warm-up

Skipping warm-up and directly getting into the asana can increase the strain on muscles and joints.

Rounded Back

Your spine should be lengthened to prevent rounding your back and strain your lower back.

Forceful Stretching

Don’t force your head towards your knee, progress slowly for the head-to-knee pose.

Neglecting Alignment

Proper alignment is important to protect your knees and back from any stress and tension.

Knees Locked

The knee of the extended leg shouldn’t be kept stiff or locked. Just keep a micro bend in your knee to keep the muscles engaged effectively.

Stiff Shoulders

Keep your shoulders away from the ears throughout the pose.

Janu Sirsasana is about finding balance. Be patient and listen to your body. If you feel something is correct, just take a few breaths, relax try making adjustments, or else come out of the pose.

Tips for Janu Sirsasana

  • As for any yoga pose, warm is essential, and before starting with Janu Sirsasana, do some warm-up focusing on the hips, hamstrings and spine, as this would help you in deeper stretch.
  • Beginners can use props like blocks or straps to experience comfort and proper alignment.
  • As you fold forward, slightly engage your core muscles. This could give you an effective fold of your hips without straining and supporting your lower back.
  • Be mindful and aware of your movements. Pay attention to the sensation in your body and experience the stretch.
  • Don’t force yourself to achieve perfection. You can improve by Regular practice over some time.
  • This can be helpful to observe your alignment and adjust accordingly.
  • You can elevate your pelvis by sitting on a cushion or folded blanket. This can ease your body to bend at the hip crease.
  • Respect your limits, be gentle to your body, and enjoy the moment in the pose. Practicing yoga is your journey; you can progress with patience and consistent practice.

The Physical Alignment Principles for Janu Sirsasana

  • Keep your spine elongated and your pelvis square to the floor, and don’t hunch your back.
  • Knees should be aligned with your ankles and not lock your knees. The bent knee should be pointing to the side, creating an angle with the extended leg.
  • Let your shoulders be relaxed and away from your ears.
  • Let your head align with your spine, and don’t look down to your knees.
  • Keep your chest open and relaxed to enjoy the Janu Sirsasana pose.

Janu Sirsasana and Breath

The breath during the Janu Sirsasana pose (head to knee pose) seems like the movement of dance steps, making me feel better. While you breathe in, you feel as if you are trying to reach your dreams, making you back longer and your body open up. The while you breathe out, gently bending forward as if letting out all your negativity through your breath.

This feel of movement creates a comfortable stretch and helps you to relax. While you inhale, you are clear about your thoughts and emotions and let go while you exhale. Janu Sirsasana not only helps the physical body but also gives you mental satisfaction and peace.

Janu Sirsasana and Variations

Choose the right variation according to your flexibility or level of experience.

Baddha Konasana Variation

Bring the sole of the bent leg’s foot to the inner thigh of the extended leg, resembling a butterfly shape. This variation enhances hip opening.

Ardha Janu Sirsasana

Focus on one leg at a time, folding over the extended leg while the other leg remains bent.

Supported Janu Sirsasana

If it’s difficult to bend forward and reach your foot, take the help of a yoga strap. Put the strap around your extended foot and keep the other end of the strap in each of your hands. Bend forward keeping your back straight.

Janu Sirsasana with a Chair

Take a chair, and sit on the chair with your right knee on. Bend from your hip and reach to left foot down. As you bend forward keep your back straight and chest open.

Wall Janu Sirsasana

Stand with your back towards the wall and place your right foot away and against the wall. Inhale and Bend forward from your hip, giving your back a good stretch, towards your right foot, and try to reach within your comfort.

Take Away

Janu Sirsasana, The Head-to-Knee Pose, is a wonderful pose and a secret helper for your body. It can fix tummy problems, reduce your stress help back to be happy and relaxed This could be helpful during your menstrual discomfort. Try doing this pose before going to bed and will help you with sleep issues. Janu Sirsasana (head-to-knee pose) is just not only about your body, it’s about how calm and happy you feel inside. Take a deep breath and embrace this pose for the positive transformation of your body and mind.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was 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. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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