Head-to-Knee Pose B

Definition - What does Head-to-Knee Pose B mean?

Head-to-knee pose B is the second in a series of three seated forward folds that also involves a slight spinal twist due to the asymmetrical position of the legs. In variation B, one leg is bent with the knee out to the side and the body is folded forward over the other leg, which is straight. The hips are lifted, then shifted forward and lowered so that the anus (or ideally the perineum) rests on the heel of the bent leg.

This pose can be particularly challenging for those with limited flexibility in the hamstrings or back of body. It provides a good stretch for both of these areas. In variation B, the added component of sitting on the heel can increase awareness of the pelvic floor area.

The Sanskrit name for head-to-knee pose B is janusirsasana B.

Yogapedia explains Head-to-Knee Pose B

The name, head-to-knee pose, describes the fact that if the body’s flexibility allows, the whole of the torso will fold over the outstretched leg, with the head touching the knee or going beyond the knee, depending on the individual body’s proportions. As a result, it is sometimes called head-beyond-the-knee pose.

The asymmetry of the pose means that as well as being a forward bend, it also provides a slight spinal twist. Head-to-knee pose B is a good pose for creating the flexibility needed to progress into seated forward bend, where both legs are straight. This variation provides a slightly deeper posture for stretching the hamstrings than head-to-knee forward bend A due to the elevation of the hips.

In addition to stretching the hamstrings, it is also said to stimulate the kidneys and liver. It benefits the digestive system by stretching both the ascending and descending colon. It may be helpful for those suffering with headaches, fatigue, or menstrual pains; however, it should be avoided by anyone suffering from asthma, digestive or lower back issues.

This variation may feel more uncomfortable than variation A due to the pressure of the heel. It can be modified by placing blankets under the buttocks, or under the knee of the outstretched leg if tight hamstrings or knee pain is an issue. For those with more flexibility, the hands can clasp the edges of the foot or one hand can clasp the opposite wrist around the sole of the foot, with the head moving onto the shin. An alternative is simply to do head-to-knee forward bend A if this feels too intense.

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