Knees, Chest, and Chin (Ashtanga Namaskara)

knees-chest-chin via
Pronunciation: ash-TAHN-gaa nah-muh-SKAR-uh
Pose Type:

Knees, Chest, and Chin pose is known as a salute to the eight limbs of the body. Ashtanga Namaskara warms the body and prepares it for further activity. It is important when practicing this post not to let the elbows splay out or collapse the chest into the pose. Use the back muscles to hold the chest within a contained effort. Keep your breath smooth and even during the pose. If the breath becomes forced relax out of the pose and rest for a moment before moving back into the pose.

Practicing Knees, Chest, and Chin regularly helps strengthen the arms, shoulders, legs and back. It builds warmth into the body and leads the way for other arm balances or weight-bearing exercises. It is a warm up pose before moving fully into Chaturanga and helps the body prepare for a more active practice.

Pose Sequence

Be sure that you feel no pain or significant discomfort in this pose. Only bring your chest as far down as you can without causing pain. Starting the pose from table top or plank, you may end the pose by pressing forward into Cobra.

  1. Begin in Plank pose, making sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists.
  2. On an exhale, lower your knees to the floor, keeping the toes tucked under.
  3. Hug the elbows in toward the body and point them back toward the heels.
  4. Keep the hips lifted off the floor and the palms flat.
  5. Slowly lower the chest toward the floor as far as possible, placing it between the hands.
  6. If you can reach the floor, touch the chin to the floor and breath into the body.

Release from the pose by lowering all the way to the mat and resting or rising into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog.

Benefits of Knees, Chest, and Chin Pose

The benefits of this pose include:

  • Adds flexibility to the back and spine
  • Delivers strength to the back muscles
  • Clears the mind of rubbish and reduces anxiety
  • Works and improves the muscles of all eight limbs

Ashtanga Namaskara brings movement and flexibility to the spine and neck and helps the body be more balanced and coordinated. It’s a great way to bring strength and vitality to the spine while conditioning your body for deeper poses.

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By Virginia O'Connor

Co-founder of and writer/content manager.