I'll admit it, I love poses that most people hate. I get some kind of weird pleasure from these poses. One of my absolute favorites is janu sirsasana C. I have always been able to do some approximation of the pose, but it has really developed over time.
When I first learned the pose a little over six years ago, my foot felt a sharp pain in the toes and my knee wouldn't go to the ground. I remember the first time Scott Page looked over at me and told me my knee should go to the ground; I couldn't wrap my head around how that was even possible. As time passed, I started to figure out some tricks to the pose and it is those tricks that have made it one of my favorites.
I get that the pose is pretty uncomfortable, especially at first. However, I promise that eventually, just like everything else, you get used to it. At home, I would often kneel on the ground and sit back on my feet with my toes flexed when I was doing something like folding my laundry. The stretch felt good and I will admit, it helped this pose feel better even though it was only for a few minutes a week (I avoid doing laundry at all costs). I no longer feel much sensation in my foot/toes, and in fact I recently asked a teacher what I should be focused on since I wasn't really feeling anything in the pose. After a quick chat, I realized that I needed to focus on pressing my heal into the crease between my pelvis and thigh when I am folding forward. It changed so much for me and I now experience this pose on a totally different level. The pressure on my hip flexor feels so good, and I think that is one reason I look forward to it every day.
When I do the pose, I like to start with my toes on the ground close to my leg, and then I move my body forward to get into the pose. I know that some people like to start in the air and move into the pose that way, but the one time I tried that, I tweaked my knee, so at least for me, it is a no go.
Once I figured out that my knee should be at a 45 degree angle to my straight leg, the pose really started to change for me. I feel like that angle is super important and I often think about how this pose is similar to half lotus. Cheryl Oliver sometimes likes to say it is like half lotus with a fancy foot. The first time I heard her say this, I remember thinking, she's so right! After reframing the pose in my head, I started to find that I could go deeper into the pose. Wrapping my head around the pieces of the pose (big toe pressing into the ground, knee at a 45 degree angle and on the floor, heel pressing firmly into my hip, deep forward bend over the straight leg and looking at that toe) took a while, but I got some sick joy as I started to feel the pose correctly (and the pain in my foot started to subside), Just like anything else, sometimes a pose you hate when you first get it, can be the one you love. Remind me of this the next time I start lamenting about laghu vadrasana.
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