Pose of the Month May: Dandayamana Janushirasana | Standing Head to Knee Pose

Standing Head-to-Knee engages all of your body’s major muscle groups as well as stretches and improves the flexibility of your hamstrings.

As you add this pose to your practice more often, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your concentration, and a better mind body connection.

A generous bend at the waist helps the functions of your digestive tract. Additionally, it’s a solid exercise for improving endurance and strengthening your abdominal muscles.

Before you begin, realize that most people will require months of regular training before they can reach the level of flexibility and mental focus required to perform this pose as perfectly as you see in the picture. But know that the benefits are not concerned with an instagram worthy picture & your body & mind will love it every step along the way.

  1. Begin by shifting the weight of your body onto your left leg and interlock all your fingers.
  2. Bend forward at the waist and lift your right knee towards your chest, until you can place your right foot onto the “basket” created by your fingers. Fingers should hug the ball mount of your foot & your hips remain in one line (don’t let the flying leg’s hip to pop up). This is step 1 and a perfect place to start introducing the pose to your body. Linger here.
  3. When you are ready to move further; with your fingers still below your right foot and your torso bent forward, straighten your right leg until it becomes parallel to the floor.  Do not try to force your leg into parallel position; simply extend your leg to your edge, and hold that position focusing on gaining strength and space. Bring your awareness to the inseam of your standing leg for balance and continue to keep hips parallel the earth.  A microbend in the standing leg is suggested for a Vinyasa practice, a locked knee for Traditional Hot.
  4. If your leg is parallel to the floor & you would like to move further slowly start lowering your elbows and the entire upper body towards the earth. The goal is to get your trunk & forehead as close to the lifted leg as possible.  Breathe into your lower back to find space.
  5. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly move your torso away from the leg, go back to first position, as if you were pressing rewind, slowly lower your lifted leg, pause, and repeat the pose for the other side.

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