Janu sirsasana (Head-to-knee forward bend) – How to, benefits

Janu sirsasana has been my go-to exercise/yoga pose that has helped me improve my body posture, stretching of hamstrings & hips, It also counteracts the effects of prolonged sitting & prolonged sitting has become part of our life since we entered the work culture, sitting in one place that can make your muscles stiff. Janu sirsasana is also one of the great after-workout stretches that helps you with the recovery of sore muscles. It will give a good stretch to your back muscles and relieve all the tension and pain from your back muscles.

Janu sirsasana is derived from Sanskrit, ‘Janu’ meaning ‘knee’, ‘Sirsa’ meaning ‘head’, and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’ or ‘seat’ (1). It is commonly known as head-to-knee forward bend, head-to-knee pose, or seated head-to-knee pose. It is a beginner-level yoga pose. All you need is a yoga mat, you can do it on the floor too but a yoga mat will be more comfortable.

How to do Janu sirsasana

Janu sirsasana
Janu sirsasana
  • To get to Janu sirsasana, first, we have to begin with dandasana.
  • As your legs are fully extended, start by bending your left knee and placing the sole of the left foot on the right inner thigh or a bit on the upper side of the right knee. This is your starting position.
  • Inhale, now start to lower your torso by bending your pelvis forward and lengthen your spine and try to reach for the sole of the right foot, and hold it by extending your arms, if you can.
  • Keep your right leg straight and keep pressing down on the ground.
  • When your arms are fully extended you will be given two choices, you can maintain a straight spine and neck and stay in an active position or you can relax and bring your head down towards the knee of the extended leg and breathe.
  • If you can reach the sole of the right foot, you can hold onto the calves or ankle of the extended leg or plant your hand on the ground wherever it may be.
  • When you inhale make sure to extend your spine long, and when you exhale try to deepen the forward bend.
  • Stay in that position for at least 6 to 10 breathes, then straighten your both legs and return to the dandasana pose and repeat the same for the other leg.

Whenever you do this stretch you will be offering yourself a great massage for your body and spiritual retreat for your mind. It will help you calm your mind and relieve you from stress. Try to keep your spine straight till you reach your maximum limit after that you can go further by rounding your back, it’s up to you.

Janu sirsasana can be a great additional to your workout routine if you’re an athlete, runner, or weight-lifter because it will provide your hamstrings a good stretch.

Note – Avoid doinging this yoga asana if you’re suffering from knee or back injury. If you’re a person who is suffering from asthma or diarrhoea you should avoid this pose. While doing this pose you will feel some mild tension in your targeted muscle but if you feel pain you should come out of the pose. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Note – Not to be practiced by a preganent women because pressure will be created on the abdominal with the forward bend.

Janu sirsasana benefits

Improves digestion – As we start to press our lower abdomen on our thigh to get the most out of the asana when we are doing so the pressure created from the pressing of the abdomen stimulates the organ that aids in the digestion process thus improving your digestion.

Strengthening & stretching – While we try to extend our spine at it’s maximum so that we can do this asana in the process its gives a good stretch to our shoulder, spine, core, hamstring, and neck. Doing this asana regularly will lead to you improvement of strength and flexibility in these muscles.

Mind – Janu sirsasna will bring you into a deep state of calmness, when you bring your head forward to rest it on your knees. Resting of head paired with ryhtmic breathing it will bring a sense of calmness to your mind that in turn will start to reduce your stress and anxiety level of the body as well as the mind.

Flexibility – To perform this yoga pose you have to push forward from your pelvic and stretch you back to fully extend. Now when you push forward with the pelvic it will create an opening in the lower back that will stretch the surrounding muscles and improve the flexibility of the spine.

Balance – You will be stretching the both side of the body, in some cases one side of the body is flexible and other one is the stiff. Doing janu sirvasana regularly will get rid of the stiffness and bring balance into your body.

Clean blood – The deep breathes done while performing janu sirsasana helps in bringing fresh blood to the diaphragm this circulation of fresh blood helps improving functions of the lungs and also keep your chest strong.

Final words

Janu sirsasana is good for your mental health, and it will strengthen your spine but you shouldn’t just rely on it, add other form of exercises with it too like cycling, jumping rope, or weight-lifting that will help you improve your overall health.