Muladhara Chakra Opener—Janu Sirsasana—Head to Knee Pose

Complete Yoga Breath
with Sound!

All Chakra

Click images below for
Root Chakra postures.

The Wheel
The Wheel

Half Locust
Half Locust

Full Locust
or Grasshopper
(same page as
Half Lotus)

Head to Knee Pose
Head to
Knee Pose

Yoga Relaxation
Head to Knee for Muladhara Janu (= knee)
Sirsa (= head)

This image shows one preliminary stretch for the Head to the Knee Pose for beginners. Instructions will be given below for the actual posture.

If a link from the 1st Root Chakra (Muladhara) series brought you to this page, this posture is part of that group (see right list with images). This one is also quite specific, because it releases tension from the lower abdomen, legs and feet. This helps to open the Root Chakra system. However, these postures can be done by anyone for many other reasons. The image above is of my teacher, Eugenia (if you have been to other pages, you know that this site is dedicated to her memory).

Detailed Instructions

  • If you are trying to lose inches around the middle of your body, this is a great exercise.
  • Most teachers only show the goal of the head on the knee, but since that is really hard for anyone who is not limber yet, it can be a good idea to refrain from straining the back too much and take this one very slowly. The most important aspect to remember is how your exhalations will be longer as you stretch more, and then you will inhale and hold each position for a moment before continuing deeper with another exhalation.
  • Look at Eugenia in the image above, and get into the same position with your right knee bent with your foot pressed into the highest part of your thigh on your left leg (against the perineum, if possible). Even if you can't get your leg there, just bend your knee and try to stretch it as far back as possible while you have your foot facing your left leg. Try to not have your knee in line with the thigh. This will help the muscles to stretch even deeper.
  • In the beginning, just stretch in this way as shown. This is the preliminary stretch.

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Head to Knee Posture

  • When you feel more comfortable, you can stretch by facing your extended leg and bringing your upper body (face down) as close to your left knee as you can.
  • If you want to stretch your left leg even more, you can also use a sock or something to hold the sole of your left foot as you stretch forward with the small of your back pressed in towards your navel. Another option is to place a pillow under the knee that is bent. This will help to prevent you from rolling forward with your spine rounded, which can cause an injury.
  • Your thigh muscles are stretched and tense (usually for beginners at least), and your toes point to the ceiling, or if you are very limber, turned facing your.
  • While in the preliminary position (as Eugenia is in the image at top), take the opportunity to practice rhythmic breathing. Exhalation will be longer than inhalation with this posture. As mentioned above, it is with exhalation that you will focus on dipping your body deeper, lower, closer to your knee.

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Here's how to do this posture from the beginning properly, because breath has a lot to do with it:

  • With your back straight, place your right index finger (the one next to your thumb), on the front part of throat where your larynx is, and also where there is an indentation in your throat.
  • Open your lips slightly and let your mouth be relaxed.
  • Forget that air is coming in through your nose as you inhale directly from your larynx (just the way you learned in the Breath series of this site).
  • With short inhalations and slow exhalations, press the root of your tongue down.
  • Now inhale and lift your arms high above you and then come forward and down with the preliminary stretch or the instructions given for the Head to Knee posture above. Just remember to keep your back straight (pressed in where the small of back is) —even as you lean forward and stretch your spine. Repeat this three times.
  • Repeat on both sides. One side is always easier than the other.


Whenever you are coming forward with your spine in any position in Yoga, one cannot emphasize enough how important it is to not round your back. In fact, to learn how to bend forward properly, read the instructions for The Triangle posture. It is extremely important to prevent injury.

It is also a good idea to not have the feeling you are pulling yourself forward or down. If you are pulling yourself, then your spine is not doing the work. This is a good way to get injured. Get the feeling that you are sinking or reaching down for something instead. Perhaps then you will concentrate more on your spine. At least think about this with all postures that require you to bend and come forward with your back.

With practice, you will be able to get where you want to be without any tension at all. It has a lot to do with your body's memory, too. Each time you do anything, your body remembers it.

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This stretching exercise revitalizes the nervous system and strengthens the muscles of the body. The breath and stretch together help to get rid of loose skin around the neck, shoulders and abdomen.

Obviously, the shoulders, arms, back, hamstrings (don't push it), and hips all get stretched in this pose. It's also good for the kidneys, liver and digestion.


If you have a knee injury, never stretch it out straight and tense it. This will only cause more injury. Be gentle with yourself. Massage your muscles after doing Yoga postures, especially if you have muscular pain and tension. It's always a good idea to rub some Arnica (gel or cream) on sore muscles. Your local health food store should have that in stock. It's a very common homeopathic remedy specifically for this purpose, and it really works without side effects. Why take pills when you can just rub something non-toxic on your skin that will be healing?

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