FOUNDATIONAL POSE #5: KNEES TO CHEST
Like Down Dog, Mountain, Staff Pose, and Child’s Pose , Knees to Chest is another foundational pose that is used to easily transition to other poses. This pose is typically used in a supine (lying down) warm up and toward the end of a yoga session. This pose utilizes gravity to stretch your glutes and lower back. There are a few options of Knees to Chest for you depending on what sensation you are looking for. Most options are restful, relaxing and a way to become more aware of your body. Knees to Chest is the “go-to” pose anytime you need to take a moment and breathe toward the end of your yoga practice, especially following back bends. This allows you to release your lower back and neutralize your spine.
As always, no pose should hurt – if it hurts, or just doesn’t feel right for any reason, stop!
Enough already… How?
Start in a supine position with your back on the floor, bring your knees into your chest. Hold the back of your thighs. Keep drawing your knees into your chest while keeping your tailbone on the floor.
Use a towel or a strap to reach around your thighs if there is limited hip flexion.
Alternating knees into the chest one at a time for abdominal work. This is also a great way to gently warm the body up before exercise.
If you have lower back discomfort or limited movement gently try this pose with one leg only. If you can do this without pain for several days in a row, advance to lifting both legs (if you can’t do it without pain, don’t do it).
If you have trouble getting that lift in the lower pelvis, you might consider placing a small towel or folded blanket under your sacrum to get you started in the right direction.
For a gentle back massage, rock side to side. This is especially nice if you’ve been targeting those back and core muscles throughout your workout.
You want to avoid grabbing your shins or the tops of your knees. This could place added pressure on the knee. Also remember to keep your tailbone and shoulders on the floor. Your lower back should follow its natural curve and lift slightly off the floor.
Benefits of Knee to Chest
The following are some benefits of the Knee to Chest if done on a regular basis:
May ease lower back and sciatic nerve pain.
May ease menstruation.
May relieve constipation and Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Similar to what I said about Child’s pose, because this pose is typically only done at the beginning or end of class it can get neglected. But honestly, who doesn’t want a free back massage?
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