Janu Sisrasana, Stage Two
(Head Knee Pose)
This forward extension brings freedom to the hips and strengthens and stretches the back muscles and spine. Janu Sisrasana helps keep the prostate, spleen and kidneys healthy. In stage one, presented last week, we learned to lift the chest and spine. In stage two, we come forward, eventually resting the entire front of the body evenly on the extended straight leg.
1. Sit down with your legs straight underneath a chair.
2. Relax your right leg so your right foot falls to the side. The right leg is now externally rotated. Let your right knee bend slightly, your leg relaxed.
3. Lean forward and scoop your left hand under the right foot and right hand under the right calf.
4. Slowly bring the right foot to the root of the left thigh. Release the right leg and let the side of the thigh rest on the floor. Stiffness in the hip may prevent this and the knee may remain in the air. If this happens, sit on a support (such as a folded blanket) until the knee is at the same height as the groin. Put a support under the knee as well.
5. Press your left straight leg into the floor, turning it in so the left knee faces straight up. Keep your right leg down.
MANOA YOGA CENTER
Janu Sisrasana stretches the back muscles and spine.
6. Extend your arms up overhead as you press the buttock bones and left leg down. This downward pressure, combined with the upward arm extension helps lift the spine in and up.
7. Keep this upward extension as you turn and face your trunk toward the straight leg. Do not let the buttock bones lose their position as you do this. Keep the left leg straight, pressing down.
8. Inhale and lift your spine. Keep this extended spine as you bend from the hips and catch the side of the chairback. This may take some practice, so repeat these movements until your range of motion increases. Do not overexert. Be sensitive to messages that your knees, back and hamstrings are sending. Do not let your left leg bend or right knee lift. Most people tend to bend in the back, instead of the hips, so concentrate on keeping your back long and spine in and up as you fold from the groins.
9. Turn the trunk so it faces over the left leg. Keep this rotation as you extend your lifted spine forward and up. Extend the front of your body and do not round the back. Let your forehead rest on the chair seat. If the back of your neck rounds, rest your forehead on a blanket until the whole spine from the buttock bones to the base of the neck is long and extended.
10. As you gain freedom in the spine, you may walk your hands up the backrest and lengthen even more.
11. Learn to release your neck and rest your head and brain as you breathe smoothly through your nose.
and Shelley Choy
are certified Iyengar Yoga teachers and co-direct the Manoa Yoga Center at Manoa Marketplace. Visit www.manoayoga.com
or call 382-3910. Manoa Yoga Center, the authors and the Star-Bulletin take no responsibility for any injury arising from the practice of these yoga postures. Readers should seek a doctor's approval before commencing this yoga practice.