This series of blog posts features tips and tricks by teachers and students, each of whom has mastered a specific posture in the Bikram Yoga series! Think of it as an “insider’s guide” to doing the poses – each week you’ll learn something new that will help you advance your own practice!
Posture: Standing Head to Knee (Dandayamana-Janushirasana)
Expert: BYV Teacher Tierney C.
This posture begins in the mind: you must to believe 100% that you can do it! Once you’ve got that mental picture of yourself holding the full expression of Standing Head to Knee, follow these steps:
- Place your feet together and shift the weight onto one foot. Maintain your balance by distributing the weight equally over the four points of the foot. Engage the arch to contract the muscles on the inside of the thigh. Continuously engage the quadriceps!
- Suck your stomach in and contract your abdominal muscles. Round down to pick up the foot while keeping the chest lifted. Make sure each part of the body is holding itself up – in other words, if you were to let go of the foot the body would stay exactly where it is.
- Keep a tight grip; don’t loose the grip!
- Inhale and suck your stomach in, then kick your heel forward until your leg is parallel to the floor. Flex the whole foot back toward your face, beyond perpendicular. Get both legs locked, thigh muscles contracted – if you get a Charley horse in your thigh muscle, you’re doing it right!
- Once both legs are locked, bend the elbows down. To get the elbows to go below the calf muscles make sure that your wrists are straight.
- To get the forehead to the knee, take a moment to focus your mind and achieve full balance. Then, suck in your stomach again, tuck in your chin and round your spine. Extend your whole leg forward to bring the knee higher on the forehead. It’s important to keep space between the chest and the top of the thigh to get the forehead to the knee. Contract your thigh muscles even more to be able to balance there. Breathe!
Standing Head to Knee takes time to learn but is so rewarding; the feeling after a strong set is phenomenal. Enjoy the process and remember: it’s all about the journey.