I’m really excited today to talk to you about Janu Shirshasana A. It’s one of those deceptive postures that looks simple, but really takes a lot of awareness, core strength, and hip opening to get the full benefit.
Janu Shirshasana A is the fifth seated posture in the Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series, and focuses on hip rotation, hip opening, and forward folding. It’s actually a combination of Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle) and Paschimottanasana (Intense Western Stretch of the Body).
There may be more exhilarating postures in the sequence, but it is Janu Shirshasana A that most lets us experience the underlying principles of the first series.
One of the main keys to Janu Shirshasana A is keeping a 90 degree angle between the knee and straight leg.
It’s common to bring the foot to the inner thigh and let the knee rotate forward, but this would prevent the practitioner from the proper hip rotation and opening that comes from keeping the knee out at 90 degrees.
You’ll find this same hip rotation in the Parvritta Parsvokonasana. You can check out this beginners version I did for Instagram. You can see how this posture requires you to keep the hips square as you twist away from it:
Tips to do Janu Shirshasna A:
- Start on the right leg
- Bend the knee and pull the knee all the way back to close the knee joint
- Draw the right heel into the groin to connect the foot and leg
- Breathe deep, pull in the lower belly, engage the bandhas
- Twist and rotate over the left leg
- Forward fold over the left leg – lead with the heart and keep a straight spine
- Work to bring the chin to the shin
- 5 breaths
- Inhale, keep the hands where they are, look forward & lift the torso
- Exhale release – vinyaysa
- Left Side!
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To Open Hearts & Happy Thoughts,