How many times have you been in class and the teacher says: “you’re almost there, only two postures and one breathing exercise to go” and you think, well technically the next posture is 3 postures in one.  But what an amazing posture it is! Not only does it help you with your technique for Standing Head to Knee posture, but it also provides a wonderful stretch in the back of your legs and through your spine. Most of us have very tight hamstrings for one reason or another (especially you runners, footballers, rugby players and the like), so don’t miss the posture out, your body will thank you for this wonderful stretch!

1 – Sit facing the mirror, right leg out to the right, bend your left leg, placing your left foot so the sole is pressed against the inside of your right thigh and your legs are at a 90° degree angle. The outer edge of your left foot should be on the ground, the heel is just in front of the groin. Unless you feel pain in your bent knee, in this case leave both legs out stretched in a V shape.

2 – Lift your arms up over your head and interlock your fingers and thumbs.

3 – Turn your torso so that you are facing your right leg. Tuck your chin to your chest, look at your stomach and suck it in, engaging your core and come down to touch your forehead on your knee. If you can not touch your forehead to the knee, lift the knee up until it meets your forehead.

4 – Hold your right foot, two inches below your toe cleavage (yes we said it, toe cleavage!).

5 – Push into the grip around the foot and pull the toes towards your face. Engage your right quadriceps, flex your foot, so your leg is engaged and your heel (eventually) comes off the floor.

6 – Bring your elbows down next to your calf muscle. Check that you are not rolling more to one side than the other. Bring your left elbow and left shoulder down more. Bring your shoulders down your back, they should not be hunched up around your ears.

7 – Check in, is your stomach still engaged, quadricep still contracted, still breathing?

8 – See if you can push your knee further down towards the floor, again making sure you are not rolling out to one side. Can you flex your foot any more? Push your knee down and….

9 – Change! Other side.

10 – Sit up, both legs out in front of you, lie down on your back and do a sit up. Unless you have any back problems that prevent you from doing the sit up, in which case, stay seated.

11 – Sit up, legs out directly in front of you, feet together.

12 – Lean over your legs (bend your knees if you need to) and grab hold of your big toes with your middle and index fingers.

13 – Look at your own eyes in the mirror, head up and walk your hips back, right, left, right, left, until both knees are locked.

14 – Engage your quadriceps, flex your feet until your heels lift of the floor.

15 – Once your feet are off the floor, bend your elbows down, still looking forward, head up, chin up.

16 – Inhale, stretch your body forward over your legs, while pulling your toes back towards you. The goal is to one day touch your forehead to your toes. DO NOT ROUND THE SPINE, in this part you want a flat back!

17 – Come up turn around, relax on your back.

JANUSHIRASANA WITH PASCHIMOTTANASANA

head to knee pose with stretching pose

Benefits:

Head to knee pose helps balance blood sugar levels and the metabolism.
Improves flexibility of sciatic nerve and ankle, knee and hip joints.
Enhances kidney function.
The intense stretching pose increases circulation to liver, spleen and pancreas.
Stimulates thymus gland, digestion and immune system.
Increases flexibility of the trapezius, deltoid, erectus femoris and biceps muscles, sciatic nerve and last five vertebrae of the spine.
Stretches and strengthens pelvic girdle, hip joints, shoulder joints and spine.
Improve concentration and mental endurance.
Powerfully massages all the abdominal organs.
Stimulate and tones the digestive organs, increases peristalsis, relieves
constipation and other problems.
Regulates function of the pancreas, assisting those with diabetes or hypoglycaemia.
Mobilises joints and increases elasticity in the lumbar spine.
Relieves compression of the spine and sciatica.
Strengthens and stretches the hamstrings.

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