What is Janu Sirsasana?

Janu Sirsasana, also known as Head to Knee Pose, Seated Head-to-Knee Pose, or Head-on-Knee Pose, is one of the few poses that require you to twist and bend your body at the same time. 

Janu Sirsasana gets its name from the Sanskrit terms ‘Janu’ meaning knee, ‘Sirsa’ meaning head, and ‘asana’ meaning posture. This is a modern yoga pose that finds a mention in the 20th-century books on yoga. 

Who can do Janu Sirsasana?

Janu Sirsasana yoga, a beginner level pose, can be modified to suit the conditioning & flexibility levels of a wide variety of people. These include:

  • Children
  • Seniors
  • People who want to cure their digestive problems.
  • People who want to work on their joints stiffness.
  • Those who suffer from liver and kidney problems.
  • Those who want to lose weight.
  • People who experience chronic stress.

Who should avoid Janu Sirsasana?

Since Janu Sirsasana is an intense lateral bend that stretches several groups of muscles, people with the following conditions must not perform this asana:

  • Asthma, COPD, or chronic shortness of breath.
  • Gastrointestinal issues, especially diarrhoea. 
  • Injury in arms, knee, back, or legs.
  • Lumbar disc herniation.
  • Pregnancy
  • Chronic joint pains and stiffness.

How is Janu Sirsasana done?

Though the head to knee pose looks simple, like any other yoga pose, you need to be mindful of using the correct technique of the asana. Here is the step-by-step explanation of the Janu Sirsasana Pose:

  1. To begin the Janu Asana, sit with your legs outstretched in the front.
  2. Bend your right knee and place the right foot against the inner part of your left thigh. Remember to keep your knee relaxed.
  3. Inhale deeply and straighten your left foot by pressing the top of the thigh down. Ensure that your spine is straight while doing this. 
  4. Now rotate your upper body a little so that you face the flexed left leg. Fold gently from the hips while exhaling deeply. 
  5. Ensure that your spine is elongated, shoulders are relaxed, and the chest is open.
  6. Stretch your arms to grab your ankle or foot.
  7. Hold this pose for 25-30 seconds.
  8. Inhale deeply to come out of the pose. 

What are some variations of Janu Sirsasana?

The head to knee pose has several variations that make its practice easier or more challenging for you.

Here are some of the most effective variations for you to try:

  1. Janu Sirsasana B: In this head to knee forward bend pose variation, you need to rest your pelvis on top of the heel of the bent knee. Also, instead of holding the big toe, you need to clasp your left wrist using the right hand around the sole of your left foot. Repeat on the other side.
  1. Janu Sirsasana C: In this variation of the Janu Sirsasana yoga pose, the bent foot is rotated so that while the toes touch the ground, the heel should lie above the toes. The position of the hands remains the same as in the Janu Sirsasana B variation. Repeat on the other side.
  1. One hand on knee Janu Sirsasana: In this Janu Sirsasana variation, you need to keep your right knee bent and rest the left hand on the right knee. Then extend the right hand to hold the big toe of the left foot. Repeat on the other side.
  1. Parivrrtta Janu Sirsasana: In this variation, your left hand will grab the big toe of the left leg. As you lean forward, touch the elbows to the ground. Then extend the right arm to reach the left foot that is extending over the head. Your head should lie between the two arms in the final position. Repeat on the other side.

Why should you do Janu Sirsasana?

Practising the head to knee forward bend has several holistic benefits not just for your body, but also for your mind. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. One of the most important Janu Sirsasana benefits is that it gives an intense stretch to the muscles in your abdomen, spine, neck, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin. This improves their flexibility and makes them stronger.
  1. The head to knee yoga pose massages organs such as your pancreas, spleen, liver, and kidney. This makes these organs function optimally and prevents their diseases.
  1. The head to knee, due to its bending forward action, stimulates your digestive organs. This improves their efficiency and prevents disorders such as bloat, constipation, and IBS.
  1. One of the best benefits of Janu Sirsasana is for women who experience menstrual discomfort. By massaging your reproductive organs, it prevents menstrual disorders.
  1. Janu Sirsasana benefits people who need to sit or drive for long hours and experience lower back pain and stiffness. By stretching your back, it prevents and helps you manage postural problems.
  1. By holding this asana, you naturally calm your brain and clear your focus. One of the most restorative benefits of Janu Sirsasana is that it reduces stress and anxiety and relieves you of fatigue. 
  1. The Janu Asana doesn’t require an elaborate setup. This makes it a great addition to your home workouts without spending monies on expensive equipment or yoga studio space.

How to do Janu Sirsasana safely?

 Here are some tips to do the head to knee yoga pose safely:

  1. In case you experience lower back pain, use props such as a cushion, blanket, or yoga strap, especially while doing yoga for beginners.
  1. Don’t slide your folded foot under the stretched leg. Press if against the inner groin.
  1. Learn the asana from an experienced trainer or by joining online yoga classes. This helps in preventing injuries and correcting your posture.
  1. If you feel pain anytime during the practice of the head to knee pose, stop exercising immediately.


The Janu Sirsasana pose is an excellent pose for your physical and mental wellbeing. However, to gain its benefits, the key is to stay consistent and make suitable lifestyle changes to complement the practice of Janu Sirsasana.

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February 10, 2022

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