Roll out your mats! It’s time to stretch that body so you’re not walking around with pissed off muscles and achy bodies. This position is for my peeps that need to stretch their hamstrings, and groin, and are looking for some lower back release. I love this yummy pose, but I don’t love the name. When I teach this pose in class I sometimes see students fold forward with the goal that their head meets their knee. Their shoulders begin to hunch up to their ears and I can see anguish in their face. I think “relax your shoulders” is my most commonly used phrase in class. Actually, go ahead and relax your shoulders right now. We work our booties off all day long, getting work to our boss, meeting deadlines, stressing, chatting on conference calls that last for hours, and sometimes we forget about our posture. Check in with yourself every now and then, sit straight, and roll those shoulders down and away from your ears.
The idea for head to knee (like every other pose) is to take it slow, build the pose, get into it safely and THEN reap the benefits. I’ll walk you through this pose to help you get the most out of it.
How To Do Head-to-Knee Pose:
– Have a seat on the floor, mat or blanket.
– Extend your left leg and bend the right knee to bring your foot to your inner left thigh.
*If you have knee issues and need to modify, place a blanket or a block under your right thigh to support your knee.
– Flex your left foot…this helps to protect your knee.
– Take a big breath in thru your nose, sit up SUPER tall with your hands placed to the sides of your leg.
– On your exhale, begin to SLOWLY fold forward. Fold in accordance with the length and speed of your breath.
– Create a slight bend in the elbows to deepen this pose and show off your heart to the front of your mat. If you think about it that way, you’re less likely to hunch your shoulders and you’ll get more of a stretch in your hamstrings and lower back.
– Inhale, lengthen; exhale, deepen. Repeat 10 times.
– Remember to only go as deep as your body can handle.
– If you feel you are able to reach your foot with your hands without hunching your shoulders, begin to take that route. If not, keep your hands to the side of the leg and continue to breath.
MODIFICATION: If you have extremely tight hamstring muscles, you will likely need a strap. You place it around your foot, hold each side of the strap, one in each hand and move into the pose with the same direction. The strap will help you get in and out of the pose safely.
BENEFITS: As mentioned earlier, Head-to-Knee pose helps stretch the hamstrings, groin and spine/lower back. It can also help calm the mind and relieve anxiety. Just like in meditation, where we sit and lay down very still, a moving meditation can provide calmness to the brain as well. Connecting with your breath as you inhale and exhale to move deeper within a pose can offer much relaxation to your mind and your body.
While you are in this pose you can also bust out a twist to help massage your inner organs and work your back a bit.
– The lower body remains the same.
– Place your left hand near or above your right knee, your right arms is positioned behind you.
– Inhale, grow tall; exhale, twist. Repeat this 8-10 times. Go slowly and do not over twist. On your last exhale, untwist so you are facing your left foot again.
And there you have it! People, if you can’t make it to a yoga class, I am giving you all the tools you need to keep up the maintenance for your bod at home. Listen, you can either do some stretching everyday now or you can be like my dad who started chair yoga two years ago after 25 years of sitting in a chair with his head cocked to one side on the phone. His quality of movement and range of motion is unbelievable from when we first started. Homeboy couldn’t take a left turn without turning the entire car first to see if it was clear. Point is, do some damn yoga and stretching now! Ya hear?
My tank is Alo Yoga and super comfy and breathable.
If you need yoga pants, Beyond Yoga have some of the most comfortable leggings I have ever worn! The exact pair I have on are no longer available, but these are super similar and I love the extra fabric at the bottom.
Both pieces are also found at the Lincoln Park (Chicago) Core Power.
Stretch it, yogis!!!! XOXO