Sitting forwards bends are not my favorite asanas. Yet Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee pose is a pose I do like.
My problem with forward bends is my lack of flexibility in my hamstrings. I’m doing yoga now for eight years and I have improved, but not to the extend that my nose is flat on my shins when I bend forward. I don’t mind. I’m pretty happy with the improvement that has happened. When I started with yoga I couldn’t even touch my knees now my toes are no problem.
Shape of pelvis
The shape of my pelvis doesn’t help as well. I’ve got a pretty high pelvis. All men have. Our pelvis is higher than women’s pelvis. They have a wider pelvis as well. The shape of their pelvis makes forward bends and outward rotations of the hips – necessary for poses like lotus – a lot easier than for men.
Especially when I do seated forward bends like Paschimottanasana the tilt of my pelvis is not really happening. My hamstrings and the size of my pelvis form a problem. When I do Janu Sirsasana – where one leg is bend – I can actually tilt my pelvis forward and come into a forward bend. Especially when I approach Janu Sirsasana in a yin yoga way – where I can round my upper back a bit – I can relax in the pose and it feels great.
Getting into Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee pose
- Start from Dandasana; sitting on the floor with both legs straight forward
- Bend your left knee. Place your left foot against the inside of your right leg – close to your perineum – and let your knee fall open to the side so it close to or on the floor. The angle between your right and left leg should be wider than 90 degrees
- Inhale and lengthen your spine
- Exhale and bend forward. If you can make it, take hold of your right foot with both hands
- Keep your spine straight. Don’t round your upper back to much. You want the bend to come from the pelvis, not from the spine
- You want to feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. If you feel it in the back of your knee, bend your knee a little bit. You want to stretch your muscle, not your tendon
- Stay in the pose for 30 seconds up until a minute. Slowly come out and change legs
Benefits of Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee pose
- Stimulates your liver and spleen
- Enhances digestion
- Strengthens your kidneys
- Beneficial for men with an enlarged prostate. Especially in combination with Sarvangasana – shoulderstand (see video for a yoga sequence on this)
Contraindications of Janu Sirsasana – Head-to-Knee pose
- Knee injuries
Source: Light on Yoga - BKS Iyengar Key muscles of Yoga – Ray Long Ashtanga – David Swenson Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha – Swami Satyananda Saraswati