“We’re now moving into the balancing portion of the series—getting a little cardiovascular—with dandayamana janushirasana. Shift the weight into your left leg—strong and engaged.”
Sound familiar? Standing Head to Knee is an awesome posture to showcase balance, strength and focus. We’re looking into the benefits of this posture and providing some tips to help you perform it to the best of your ability—and safely.
Lock Your Knee!
The first, and most important, part of the posture is to lock the knee. What, really, is a locked knee you ask? A locked knee occurs when you contract your thigh and feel the muscles hug onto your bones. If you’re looking in the mirror, you’ll be able to see your knee cap lift up.
Only if you have a locked knee should you then try to kick out. To do this posture safely, you must lock your knee! You’ll hear many instructors say that the posture doesn’t begin until the knee cap lifts up.
Standing Head to Knee builds strength throughout the body and also improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerve. Not only are muscles being strengthened, but so, too, are the tendons and soft tissues surrounding the knee. This helps to prevent wear and tear of knee cartilage. Balance is also challenged during this posture, strengthening the core and developing focus. It also helps to maintain sugar levels due to the compression of the pancreas.
Mental benefits include:
- Improved concentration
- Unification of the mind and body
- Balancing of the body’s energies
- Clearing of the mind
Standing Head to Knee Tips
Lock that knee! This is the mantra of the posture for a reason. A locked knee protects the integrity of the knee joint, helping you to perform this posture safely.
Practice patience. Follow the sequence of the posture—don’t skip a step! Know that your practice is a journey, and you receive 100% of the benefit if you are performing your personal best.
Suck it in. Compression of the abdomen will protect your spine and give you a boost of energy.
Use the heel. If you’re moving further into the posture, engage through the heel to kick out. Always make sure, though, to grab at the ball of the foot.
Use these tips next time you practice, and see if your posture improves. If you have questions, feel free to ask any BYY instructor before or after class!