Today we explore Jānu Śīrṣāsana B (Head and Knee Pose) from the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series.  The Primary Series is also known as Yoga Chiktsa, or Yoga Therapy because it is a very therapeutic sequence to cleanse the lymphatic system.

In Ashtanga Yoga, you start the practice with Sun Salutations and then slowly move through the standing sequence.  Once you finish the standing postures, you take a vinyasa to the seated postures.  One of the seated postures you find in Ashtanga’s first series is Janu Sirsasana B.  It is a posture that requires mobility in the hip and ankle and can be challenging for some students to take the first time they explore this pose.

Janu Sirsasana B

Certainly, this is a unique posture in the Primary Series whereby you sit on one of your feet as you fold over the opposite leg.  Although this asana was created by men to aid in prostate health, it also provides wonderful benefit to female practitioners. Albeit Janu Sirsasana B might take time for some students to get into.  Therefore, go slowly and work with modifications such as those offered in Olotita’s Youtube tutorial video to help you open and strengthen the body.  Doing so will enable you to take the full expression of this posture, in due time.

Janu Sirsasana B provides a wonderful stretch in your hamstring, your back, hips and side body.  This pose also applies pressure on your anus, allowing more blood flow into that region.  As a matter of fact, doing so strengthens the prostate (for men) and strengthen the pelvic floor for us ladies.  And just like Janu Sirsasana A, Janu B helps you incorporate concepts of tensegrity in more subtle ways.  The result is more grounding through your body as you begin to hinge forward in the posture.  Please be sure to review the variations offered in Olotita’s tutorial video before attempting the full expression of this posture, unless you are already a seasoned practitioner.

Tutorial for Janu Sirsasana B:

In Olotita’s tutorial video we will explore three variations of this asana.   Each variation significantly helps you work your way to the full expression without rounding your lower back, over stretching your hamstrings or losing your active engagement.  But even more importantly, the first two modifications help you keep your body more upright.  Doing so allows you to use the hands to help you ease the pressure of your foot onto your anus.  The full expression can feel like too much pressure in your nether region.  Thus, please go slowly and build up your bodies ability to sustain this posture through the variations provided.  Once you are comfortable with this posture, no matter the variation you choose, try our guided practice video to pull it all together to enjoy a flowing class from Sun Salutations, standing postures and seated asanas (including Janu Sirsasana B).

Tip

Don’t feel you need to rush to the full expression by forcing yourself to fold when your body is yearning for more opening.  And do savior the five breaths you take in Janu Sirsasana B.  This posture is food for your body, and food for your soul.  Try to be contemplative when you take this pose and connect with your breathing and bandhas.  Know that the more you take the posture, the more comfortable you’ll become with it.  If you would like to learn more about the breath and bandhas used in the Ashtanga Yoga practice, refer to our video on Sun Salutations, breathing and bandhas, here.

If you’ll remember from Janu Sirsasana A tutorial video, A asks for a 90 degree angle from your knee.  Conversely, Janu Sirasasana B is a 60 degree angle.

To learn more about the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series, also known as Yoga Chiktsa or Yoga Therapy, explore the tutorials and guided classes in this playlist, my yoga studios website and my primary series poster. You’ll find tons of great information about Ashtanga yoga and the Primary Series practice.

Each tutorial video is here to help you go a little deeper in your understanding of the body mechanics of the movements, and your own body in space.  The only thing you need to advance in Ashtanga Yoga is consistency.  Just be consistent in getting to your mat and moving and breathing.  It is recommended that you create a weekly practice 3-6 days per week.

About Krista

Krista Shirley is a level II authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher.  She is passionate about sharing these teachings with all who wish to learn.  She has been through her own medical battles and had to step away from teaching 2019-2021.  Due to botched surgery, Krista now lives without muscles in her rotator cuff (shoulder) and her mid-back.  She is proud to be back to teaching yoga to others and to serve as a role model that absolutely anyone can do Ashtanga Yoga!

If you want to join her in person she teach daily classes at The Yoga Shala in Winter Park, Florida. She also offers virtual sessions in Yoga, Meditation, Breath-work, Nutrition, Life Coaching and Mentorship.  Check out www.theyogashala.org for more details.

If you do not live in Central Florida and want to find an authorized teacher in your area, check out my teacher Sharath Jois’ website. You’ll find a full list of all teachers authorized and certified by his yoga centre in India.  

We invite you to join our free private facebook group:  The Wholeness Collective.

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If you are new to this channel or this yoga asana series, I invite you to check out the other videos from this yoga series.