janu = knee
sirsa = head
Step by Step
Sit on the floor with your buttocks lifted on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Inhale, bend your right knee, and draw the heel back toward your perineum. Rest your right foot sole lightly against your inner left thigh, and lay the outer right leg on the floor, with the shin at a right angle to the left leg (if your right knee doesn’t rest comfortably on the floor, support it with a folded blanket).
|Contraindications and Cautions|
|Modifications and Props|
|If you can't comfortably reach the extended-leg foot, use a strap. Loop it around the sole of the foot and hold it with your arms fully extended. Be sure not to pull yourself forward when using the strap; walk your hands lightly along the strap while you keep your arms and the front of your torso lengthened.
VariationIn some schools of yoga this pose is also performed with the perineum sitting on the bent-knee heel. The bent-knee leg is angled out to the side at somewhat less than 90 degrees.
|Deepen the Pose|
|You can increase the challenge in this pose by widening the angle between the two legs past 90 degrees. Instead of bringing the bent-knee heel into the perineum, snug it into the same-side groin. Do this only if you have sufficient flexibility in the legs, hips, and back.|
|Make sure the bent-leg foot doesn't slide under the straight leg. You should be able to look down and see the sole of the foot. Keep the bent-leg foot active too. Broaden the top of the foot on the floor and press the heel toward the inner groin of the straight leg.|
|A partner can help you learn about grounding the bent-leg thigh. Have your partner stand behind you and press the inner edge of his/her foot against the inner groin of your bent leg. As you lengthen forward into the pose, see if you can release the head of the thigh away from the pressure of the foot, toward the floor.|