The Standing Separate Leg Head To Knee pose in the Bikram Yoga Hot Yoga Series is a challenging posture that works the entire body, which can be intimidating when you first do it. I used to dread this posture when I first started my Bikram Practice until I understood it now; it is one of my favorite postures. The meaning of Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirsasana goes as follows: Danda means either stick or staff, Yamana has the meaning in English of balancing. The posture can be as overwhelming as the Sanskrit name of the pose until you understand that you do not need to do the whole posture with any yoga pose to get the benefits. You just need to do small bits, and if you do it consistently, you will be amazed at how quickly it develops.
To start the pose, you need to turn to the room's right and focus on the wall, the window, or whatever is in front of you. Your feet and ankle bones need to be touching with your hands to the side, for starters. From there, bring your hands above your head in a prayer position and step out three feet to the right. You need to pivot on your heels towards the back of the room. Make sure you keep your back foot at a 45-degree angle. Following that, bring the front foot to a 90-degree angle. Make sure your hips are square, and your shoulders are square and tuck in your chin. Keep your stomach pulled in throughout the pose from beginning to the end. Squeeze your buttocks for the duration of the pose as well.
You now have the set up for the pose, so you are ready to curl forward. Take a big breath in through the nose, lift up out the waist, and round forward. It is essential to keep your chin tucked in from the start of the posture to the end. Then you round forward, start with the upper spine, then the middle, and finally the lower spine. You need to keep the spine rounded the whole time you are rounding forward. Try to bring the forehead to your knee with the front leg straight.
Chances are you can not do this if you are a beginner so bend the front knee forward as much as you need to to get your forehead to knee and try and straighten your front leg over time. Your hands should be in prayer throughout the pose unless you cannot get your forehead to then; in that case, bring your hands to both sides of you and work your forehead closer to your knee. Once you have your forehead to knee, start to bring your hands back into prayer position. This is where I struggled with posture because I had an instructor who insisted that I get my forehead to knee even though I could not. The forehead to the knee is important enough because of the compression to your inner organs it gives you but does not force it. Let yourself open up into this posture.
You need to hold the pose for twenty seconds and then round out the same way you went in. The chin is released from its compression when you get to the top. Pivot on your heels towards the back wall of the room. Repeat the pose the same way and for the same length of time. When you are done, the other side rounds out the same way you went in with chin releasing last and then step back with feet touching and bring your hands to the side.
Standing Separate Forehead to Knee pose in the Bikram Series can be very frustrating to do at first until you realize only doing small bits of the posture at a time will give you tremendous benefits. The most important thing to do is have the proper setup before you round forward. The correct form is as follows: back foot at 45-degree angle and front foot is at a 90-degree angle, hips are square, stomach sucked in, and hands in prayer.
As always, make sure you are calmly breathing in and out through your nose. You then worry about rounding forward to get your forehead to knee. I have spoken to instructors who say that once you have the proper setup, if you only round forward slightly in the pose, you are getting tremendous benefits as long as you give it your best effort. Below I have given you a cheat sheet you can use during practice and a list of some of the posture benefits. Good luck with posture, and I hope this article helps.