Knee to Chest Pose–A Learning Opportunity

knee to chest poseKnee to chest pose, which is also known as Apanasana, is a wonderful hip opener. In fact, it might be my favorite. This is because this pose provides several opportunities for your body to learn.

First, your pelvis and lumbar spine learn to stay in neutral as your leg lifts and folds in for the stretch. This neutral spinal position is crucial to execute this pose properly. However, because of the one extended leg with a flexed foot, it also translates to proper standing posture.

Also, as your hands press against your shin or thigh, your shin or thigh presses against your hands. This transfer of energy is the best way to safely get deeper into any stretch. Whenever you apply pressure with your hands to help increase a stretch, always apply pressure back into your hands. This way, you will keep good alignment and be less likely to hurt yourself.

Knee to Chest Pose

  1. Use ujjayi breathing.
  2. Begin on your back with your knees bent, heels in line with your SITs bones.
  3. Make sure that your pelvis is in neutral. In neutral position, you should feel your sacrum (tailbone) in contact with the floor beneath you. There should also be a noticeable space in your low back for the lumbar curve of your spine.
  4. Draw your belly button toward your spine to help engage your abdominals.
  5. Keeping your spine and pelvis in the same location, bring your right knee toward your chest.
  6. Lace your fingers across the front of your shin or the back of your thigh.
  7. Bend your elbows to help apply pressure to bring your right leg closer to your right shoulder. As you bend your elbows, feel your collarbones broaden.
  8. Flex your right foot so your toes point toward your shin.
  9. Reengage your abdominals, and slide your left leg straight along the mat.
  10. Flex your left foot so you feel the back of your heel press into the mat.
  11. Breathe and hold. As you do, press your hands into your shin and your shin into your hands. This will create a deeper stretch.
  12. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
  13. When you are finished, set your right foot on the floor and return both legs to starting position.
  14. Repeat all of the above steps for the left side.

Knee to Chest Pose Video

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Here is a video for visual learners.

Why do you love Knee to chest pose? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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