Head to Knee

Sanskrit: Janu Sirsasana

This pose is the first of the two seated forward folds that we teach in our beginners class. As with other forward folds it can feel calming for the mind … as long as you let go of the idea that you need to be able to touch your toes - you don’t! It is really important to initiate the movement from the hips and let all folding happen from the hips and not from rounding your back forward.

This pose releases the backs of your legs, your back and shoulders. You will practice this pose towards the end of your class, after all the standing poses, backbends and most of the hip openers.

How to get into the pose:

  • Begin in Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).

  • Inhale to bend your right knee, drawing it in towards you, then exhale to drop the knee and bring the sole of the right foot to the inside of your left thigh.

  • Keep your left leg engaged, pointing your toes upwards.

  • Inhale your arms overhead then exhale to reach forward, initiating the movement from your hips. Let your hands land where they land.

  • Lengthen as you inhale and as you exhale notice if you can deepen the pose.

  • Come up on an inhale, then repeat the pose on the left side.

Remember to create the balance between effort and ease in your pose.

How long to stay in the pose:

  • Five to ten breaths

Gaze (Drishti)

  • Feet

Challenge yourself:

  • If you can reach your foot, place a block in front of your foot and hold the block

Modifications you can take to make this pose more accessible:

  • Use a block under your knee to support the joint

  • Take your knee further down your extended leg

  • Bend your extended leg if you need to

Contraindications / Cautions:

  • Practice very cautiously if you have a knee injury or are recovering from knee surgery

  • Do not practice this pose with lower back disc injury