Standing Head-To-Knee pose, or Dandayamana Janushirasana, is a balancing posture with a multitude of benefits for both the mind and body. The Sanskrit name broken down into six parts means, danda, stick; yamana, balancing or maintaining; jana, knee; shiksa, head; and asana, posture or pose.
This posture is exercised in the beginning part of the class as part of the balancing series. Practicing balance enhances mental concentration and focus, determination, and calmness of the breath and mind.
Some benefits of Standing Head-To-Knee pose include:
Strengthening the muscles of:
Ankles and feet
Improves flexibility of the hamstrings and Achilles tendon
Stretches sciatic nerves
Improves concentration, balance, and determination
What is most important is the correct form not going further into the posture before the initial part is mastered. You are in the posture and reaping the benefits if you have the standing leg’s knee locked and can balance with the opposite foot lifted. Getting the knee locked is essential in this posture.
To advance, clasp the hands under the foot with all ten fingers and pull in the abdominals while doing so to protect the lower back. Slowly, lift the leg and kick the heel out while trying to straighten the leg. Pull the toes back towards the face to stretch the Achilles tendon.
In this expression of the posture, the muscles of the upper back, deltoids, and biceps are also being strengthened. The last part is to touch the forehead to the knee stretching the spine and improving blood flow to the brain.
With all postures keep the breath flowing through the nose and practice at your own pace honoring the body without overworking and/or causing pain.