The first fact that will strike most of you is that either your arms are too short or your legs are too long. Whichever it is, wiggling or no wiggling, you cannot reach your toes. You probably think we are insane thinking that you could reach your toes without bending your legs. The fact that Ruth seems to be able to do it makes no difference whatsoever to you. So, as any level-headed person would do, you bend the knee of your extended right leg upward until you can grasp the toes.
Remember Standing Head to Knee Pose? Well, as with that pose, kicking forward through the heel while pulling the toes back toward you, causing the leg to bow downward, is exactly what you are going to do here. The nice thing about the sitting version of the Standing Head to Knee pose is that you don't have to balance on one leg!
Take hold of those toes and pull back on them with all your strength until the heel lifts. Your sciatic nerve will no doubt complain loudly, but you'll get the feel of the ultimate pose. As a bonus, you'll notice that your leg straightens out more than you thought it could. Don't forget to use your forehead to push the knee down a little by little, make sure you're bending your elbows toward the floor, and have faith. Pretty soon you'll be doing the pose with your leg straight.
The inequality of your sides will be very apparent here. The left will either be much more difficult or much easier.
Now you see how important the sit-ups are. A sit-up done correctly is half the battle won. Which ought to take the boogeyman out of the pose. You'll notice, of course, that this is really a wee bit harder than a normal sit-up. In the sit-up you dart down for the touch and hold it for few seconds, but in the Stretching Pose you must stay there for twenty seconds.
There are many ways to attach both parts of this pose, many tricks to use to limber yourself and hasten flexibility. Play around with it. Don't be afraid, you won't hurt yourself. At any spare moment, get yourself warmed up, then start making your rocking dives toe-ward. Try lifting your heels, try reaching with your forehead. And remember to wiggle your hips and get your weight forward. Go for it, and you will make astounding strides.
The Head to Knee Pose helps to balance the blood sugar levels. It improves the flexibility of the sciatic nerves, ankles, knees, and hip joints; improves digestion; enhances the proper functioning of the kidneys; and expands the solar plexus. The Stretching Pose relieves chronic diarrhea by improving the circulation of the bowels. It also increases circulation to the liver and spleen and improves digestion.
Read more about this poses benefits, pictures, video and tips from HERE
Drawings and info from "Bikram´s Beginning Yoga Class " Book, 1978.