Forward Extensions


Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Head of the Knee Pose, Head to Knee Pose
Level: Intermediate

Janu = knee. Shirsha = head.

“Head of the Knee,” referring to the knee of the bent leg, as opposed to “Head to Knee” pose. Strictly speaking, one is not trying to bring the head to the knee. This would result in a rounded back and a collapsed chest.

Organizing the pose

    • Come into Dandasana (Staff Pose).
    • As for Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose), take hold of the inner right thigh with the right hand just above the knee and drag the right foot in, keeping the right leg completely soft and passive and letting the arm do all the work.
    • Take hold of the right ankle and draw the right heel in to the right groin. At the same time, roll the ankle out to turn the top of the foot and shin down to the floor. The big toe should be in towards the right thigh and the left thigh should be at least at a 90° angle and ideally at a an angle greater than 90°.
    (• Alternatively, if this is not attainable, bring the foot into the thigh and have the leg in Baddha Konasana.)
    • If the knee does not go all the way down to the floor, support it with a blanket or block.
    • Turn the trunk to face out over the left leg.
    • Inhale, reach up through the right arm, lengthening through the right side of the trunk.
    • Exhale, extend forward and grab hold of the outside of the left foot with the right hand.
    • Inhale, lifting the trunk once again and releasing the right hip down.
    • Exhale and roll the belly away from the releasing hip to bring the trunk more in line with the extended leg.
    • Inhale and take hold of the foot with both hands.
    • Exhale and lay the trunk out over the left leg, bringing the chin towards the left shin. Hold this position.
    • Inhale and come up, returning to Dandasana (Staff Pose).
    • Repeat on the other side.