Janu Sirsasana

Definition - What does Janu Sirsasana mean?

Janu sirsasana is a series of asymmetrical seated forward bends. From Sanskrit, janu means “knee," sirsa means “head” and asana means "pose." The intention of the pose is to fold the body so that the head moves closer to the knee. In the full expression of the posture, though, once the hamstrings and back of the body are open enough, the head will actually move beyond the knee and to the shin.

There are three main variations of janu sirsasana involving slightly different positioning of the bent leg in relation to the body. All three of the variations are included in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga.

The Western name for janu sirsasana is head-to-knee pose.

Yogapedia explains Janu Sirsasana

The three main variations of janu sirsasana are as follows:

  1. Janu sirsasana A: This is the simplest version and is the version usually taught first. The bent leg is folded in with the sole of the foot resting toward the top of the inner thigh.
  2. Janu sirsasana B: This version is similar in the position of the bent leg to A, except that the foot is tucked underneath the body so that the heel is in the area of the perineum. Thus, it is the variation which most actively stimulates the muladhara (root) chakra and reminds the practitioner to engage the mula bandha.
  3. Janu sirsasana C: In this variation, the sole of the foot of the bent leg is placed against the inner thigh of the straight leg, pointing down with the toes tucked under and grounded on the floor. Many find this a more challenging version, due to the position of the thigh, and it is usually practiced after A or B as the body opens up.
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