Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose)
1. Sit with the legs outstretched and the feet together.
2. Bend the left leg, placing the heel of the foot against the perineum and the sole of the foot against the inside of the right thigh.
3. Keep the left knee on the floor.
4. Place the hands on top of the right knee, keeping the spine straight and the back muscles relaxed. This is the starting position.
5. Slowly bend forward, sliding the hands down the right leg, and grasp the right foot.
6. If possible, hold the big toe with the index finger, middle finger and thumb of the left hand and the outside edge of the foot with the right hand.Try to touch the knee with the forehead. This is the final position.
7. Keep the back relaxed and do not strain. Hold the position for as long as is comfortable.
8. Return to the starting position and rest the hands on the knees.
9. Change sides and repeat with the right leg bent and the left leg straight.
Practice up to 5 times with each leg.
Note: While holding, maintain normal breathing.
Breathing: Inhale in the starting position. Exhale while bending forward. Retain the breath outside if holding the final position for a short time. Breathe normally if holding the pose for longer. Inhale while returning to the starting position.
Benefits: This practice gives basically the same benefits as paschimottanasana as well as loosening up the legs in preparation for meditation asanas.
Practice note: Sometimes known as ardha paschimottanasana. It may be practised before paschimottanasana as a preparatory asana.