Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)
In Sanskrit Janu means knee and sirsa means head. Therefore this asana is also known as the head to knee forward bend. And can be performed as follows;
- Sit in Dandasana or the staff pose.
- Now place your buttocks so as that they are lifted on a folded blanket and your legs straight in front of you. Keeping the back as straight as possible.
- Inhale, bend your right knee, and draw the heel back towards your perineum. Rest your right foot sole lightly against your inner left thigh, and lay the outer part of the right leg on the floor, with the shin at a right angle to the left leg.
- Now begin pressing your right hand against the inner right groin, where the thigh joins the pelvis, and your left hand on the floor beside the hip.
- Exhale and turn the torso slightly to left, lifting the torso as you push down on and ground the inner right thigh. Line up your navel with the middle of the left thigh.
- One can now reach out with your right hand to take the inner left foot, thumb on the sole. Inhale and lift the front torso, pressing the top of the left thigh into the floor and extending actively through the left heel. The pressure of the left hand on the floor can be used to increase the twist to the left.
- Then reach out your hand for the left hand to the outside of the foot. With the arms fully extended, lengthen the front torso from the pubis to the top of the sternum.
- Exhale and extend forward from the groins and not the hips. Be sure not to pull yourself forcefully into the forward bend, hunching the back and shortening the front torso. As you descend, bend your elbows out to the sides and lift them away from the floor.
- Lengthen yourself forwards into a comfortable stretch. The lower belly should touch the thighs first, the head must be last to touch. Stay in this pose anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.
- Then return back to the same pose inhaling and repeat the same on the other leg too.
The benefits of this asana are:
- Produces a calming effect on the brain and relieves mild depression.
- Stretches the spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin.
- Stimulates the liver and kidneys.
- Brings about massage of the internal organs.
- Helps in healing up various gastric ailments.
- Helps relieve various symptoms of menopause.
- Relieves anxiety, stress, fatigue, headache and menstrual discomforts.
- Is of great therapeutic value in high blood pressure, insomnia and sinusitis.
- Provides strength to the back muscles during pregnancy. But should be practiced until the second trimester.
- Brings about improvement in digestion.
- Also provides relief in headache, migraine, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
The precautionary measures that are a must while performing this asana are:
- Should not be practiced in case of a knee injury.
- Should be avoided in case of recent or chronic back injury or swelling.
- Also be avoided in individuals suffering from asthma or diarrhea.
- Should also be avoided if having low disc herniation.