Janu Sirsasana B

Download a guide to this pose. (PDF)

Janu Sirsasana B – Head to knee pose, or head beyond the knee pose. Janu means knee, sirsa means head. This pose goes a little further than Janu Sirsasana A, and Janu Sirsasana A will help prepare your body to go a little deeper into the B position.

Method

  • From Downward facing dog, hop through to Dandasana beginning to fold your right leg back as you come through.
  • Exhaling bend your right knee and take your leg out to the side to approx. 85o. Externally rotate your thigh bone (femur)—meaning turn your inner thigh upward (this is the opposite of what we did in Janu Sirsasana A), dorsally flex your foot (meaning pull the top of your foot toward your shin), then lift your hips up and slide forward to have a seat on your inner foot. Your heel should be in your perineum and your left sitting bone will be into the arch of your right foot, your toes of your right foot will be pointed toward the left foot. If this position is very uncomfortable on your foot or ankle you can try pointing the foot (known as plantar flexion) so the toes point out to the side instead of forward.
  • Catch your left foot with both hands (bending your left knee if necessary), inhale lift your heart and square your shoulders over the left thigh adding a slight “twisting” component to the pose.
  • Exhale forward bend over your left thigh moving your forehead to knee or chin toward shin, spiral your right ribs inward trying to keep both shoulders parallel to the floor. Slide your shoulder blades down your back and lengthen your spine and back of your neck, paying attention to stay connected with the bandhas by pulling the ribs in and together but not rounding your upper back.
  • Drishti (gaze) is at your toes if you are not ‘forehead to knee’ or at the nose if you are. Be careful not to put pressure on the nerves at the base of the skull by jutting your chin forward in effort to get more length in the pose or your head down.
  • Hold here for five deep breaths, the pressure of your heel in your “mula bandha” should remind you to lift mula bandha! Inhaling come up, take vinyasa or switch legs.

Janu Sirsasana B puts an even more intense stretch on the hamstrings due to the elevation of the hips.  Progress intelligently, many people initially avoid going deep into forward bending with this posture giving the body time to accept the new range of motion it is being put into.

Benefits
The Janu Sirsasana series of poses has a powerful effect on the urinary system and prostate gland.  Of importance is the pressure from the heel placed on the nerve which stimulates the pancreas to make sufficient insulin, Janu Sirsasana A & B for men and C for women (although all three poses are beneficial for both sexes and should be practiced by all).  Also, the nerve to the liver is stimulated by this series of poses helping the liver to digest the food we eat and detoxify our blood.  In addition the heel generates heat which adds a therapeutic effect.  In Eastern traditions Janu Sirsasana is prescribed for those who consume too many caffeinated beverages or over-indulge in sexual activity (which zaps vital power).

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