Śaśaṅkāsana (Hare Pose)
- Sit on your heels in vajrāsana
- Keep the knees together
- Bend forward from the hips
- Grab your heels from behind
- Place the top of your head on the mat
- Raise your hips up
- Stay for 5 breaths
Asana in Depth
Śaśaṅkāsana, also known as the hare pose, is a variation of child’s pose in which the neck receives a deep stretch. This pose is also used as a gentle and simple variation of the headstand, providing very similar benefits.
Start by sitting on your heels in vajrāsana, keeping the knees together and the feet together. Lengthen the spine upward. Take a deep inhalation, and as you exhale fold forward from the hips. Grab hold of your heels from behind and place the crown of your head on the floor. Raise the hips up as high as possible and then adjust the head by bringing the forehead closer to the knees. Allow the hips to stay over the knees.
Observe the deep stretch of your neck and continue to breath deeply. Stay for 10 to 15 breaths and then on an inhalation come up again.
As a variation, instead of grabbing hold of the heels, you can also interlock the fingers and bring the arms up over the head. This will give a stretch and opening to the chest when you place the top of the head on the floor.
One of the benefits of this posture is that it gives a deep stretch to the neck and the upper back. It extends and stretches the entire spine in the forward bend. It is said to be cooling for the head, and it rejuvenates the braincells with fresh oxygen. Śaśaṅkāsana removes tiredness and sluggishness from the body and keeps you energised. It helps against depression and insomnia.
The contra-indications for this pose are pregnancy, high blood pressure and neck injuries. You can place a blanket under the legs for support, or even between the buttocks and the lower legs. Pregnant women can keep the knees separate and keep the head further away from the knees when bending forward.
- Stretches the neck
- Rejuvenates the brain
- Removes sluggishness
- High blood pressure
- Neck injuries
- Stretches spinal extensors