Monday, April 11, 2011

Posture Discussion Part X - Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose is often referred to as “that posture after Triangle”, but I like to refer to it as “the posture almost no one does correctly.” I have a bit of a pet peeve with the posture not being corrected by teachers very much, at least in my experience. Let me explain…

What’s one of the first parts of the set-up of the posture? Arms above your head, hands together and palms flat together. Palms flat. Next time you’re in class, see if you get your palms flat and look around the room and see how many people, if any, get their palms flat together. Now as with any posture, I understand if you can’t physically do it right away, but for some reason it’s not corrected by teachers very much, if at all. The closest corrections I ever hear are to fix people that interlock their fingers instead of putting the palms flat together.

Is this really a big deal? Maybe, maybe not, but I think it is. I’ve discussed this point with numerous teachers and correctly so, they tell me they have to focus on getting people to keep contact of their forehead and their knee. And it’s true, that’s by far the most important part of the posture. However, if you closely listen to all of the dialogue, you’ll see it is important to keep the palms flat. Bikram did realize how difficult it can be for people, because he even tells you to bring your palms back together again near the end of the posture before you come back up.

If you can keep your palms together the entire time with your forehead on your knee, you’ve really done a good job on this one, and you’ll get fantastic benefits. You get a much better stretch of the shoulders and you work your core much better as well.

As a note, in the advanced series, any of the postures you interlock your fingers together in are replaced (ideally) by putting the palms together flat. In other words, in the advanced series, you do half-moon for example with palms flat, instead of interlocking the fingers together.

One other point on the posture is ask your teachers sometimes for the full list of benefits from this postures. There’s quite a bit, so even though you’re probably nice and tired at this point of the class after Triangle, do your best to give 100% effort on Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose.

Next up (after some other topics)… Tree Pose and Toe Stand.



  1. Heh, you're such a backseat driver.

    As far as details go, this one's pretty small. If you read Bikram's blue book, he actually says not to worry too much about the set-up for this one because the arms sort themselves out once you're in the posture. I think his exact words are "don't worry too much about your steeple."

    The dialogue mentions the palms once in the set-up, and then never again. Ideally they do stay together the whole time, but only if everything else in the posture is basically perfect - otherwise it's fine to separate the hands for balance, keeping just the thumbs crossed.

  2. Ha, I am a backseat driver! I know it's small, just made a huge difference to me personally.