Flow into Yoga: Head to Knee with Stretching Pose

Our Bikram Yoga series “Flow into Yoga” is back this week. Here’s the latest feature piece from Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge:

By this point in class, your muscles are warm and prepared to stretch the hamstrings and the lower back in Head to Knee Pose with Stretching or Janushirasana with PaschimotthanasanaBy focusing strongly on your breath and relaxation, many students experience breakthroughs in their flexibility in this posture.

To achieve:

  • Face the front mirror. Stretch your right leg out 45 degrees. 
  • Bend your left leg until the sole of your foot presses against your right inner thigh. Bring your heel high up to the crotch. Both legs should form a 90 degree angle.
  • Raise your arms overhead sideways. Inhale. 
  • Twist to the right and stretch down over your right leg. Hold your right foot with both hands tightly interlaced, bending the right knee if needed.
  • Pull your toes back to your face until they are flexed.
  • With your chin tucked into your chest, your back rounds until your forehead touches your knee. If needed, bend the right knee to enable forehead to knee contact, but if the right leg is straight, keep flexing the right foot until the heel lifts off the floor
  • Notice this pose is like the Standing Head to Knee Pose but without the need to balance on one leg.
  • Bend both elbows straight down towards the floor.
  • Keep your spine evenly aligned over your right leg by rolling your left shoulder and elbow down more.
  • Keep your eyes open. Breathe. Hold.
  • Repeat left side. 
  • Keep your left quad engaged to safely stretch the hamstring.  Your abdominals engaged to safely stretch the lower spine.
  • Repeat with both legs.
  • Extend both legs out in front. In one fluid movement, lie back and immediately sit up on an inhalation.
  • Wiggle your hips back and draw your buttocks back to prepare to bend your torso forward with a lengthened spine.
  • Hold your big toes with the first two fingers of each hand. Flex your feet by pulling the toes back.
  • Inhale. Lift and lengthen your spine.
  • Exhale. Stretch forward, trying to lift your heels up off the floor and touch your forehead to your toes.
  • Bend both elbows to the floor. Draw your stomach, chest and face towards your legs, keeping your spine straight as opposed to rounded. Bend the knees slightly if needed.
  • Continue to breathe and use the exhalations to relax the muscles into a deeper stretch.
  • Hold.

Head to Knee Pose with Stretching provides a full body stretch to the hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, trapezius, biceps and deltoids. This stretching is beneficial for the immune and lymphatic systems, increasing circulation to the liver, pancreas, thyroid, thymus and intestines. It aides in digestion and also relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation in the bowels.

Lyndsey Hemmesch is an instructor at Bikram Yoga Burr Ridge in Burr Ridge.

This content was submitted by a member of the community. We’d like to hear from you, too! To share stories, photos, video or events for our calendar, please email Community News Manager Michael Cronin at michael@aggrego.com or use the online submission tool.

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