How to Do Standing Knee Hug in Yoga

Standing Knee Hug is a balancing yoga pose that stretches the hips, low back, and hamstrings. It is a variation of the intermediate yoga posture, Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana) that is suitable for students who aren't yet flexible or strong enough for it.

Standing Knee Hug is a good preparatory position for other one-legged balances, such as Tree Pose (Vrksasana) and King Dancer Pose (Natarajasana), but it has many benefits of its own. Keep reading to learn more!

Benefits of Standing Knee Hug 

Standing Knee Hug strengthens and tones the thighs, calves, and ankles. It stretches the hamstrings, hips, and low back. It can also be therapeutic for lower-back pain, and it improves balance and equilibrium. The concentration and focus required to hold the pose also helps to calm your mind, which results in relief from stress and anxiety.

 

 

Just for the moment, forget what you believe you can't do.

 

Baron Baptiste

 

 

Cautions

Do not practice this pose if you have a recent or chronic ankle or low back injury. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

Instructions

  1. Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  2. Relax your breath and your body. Gaze softly at a fixed spot ahead of you.
  3. Shift your weight to your left foot. Place your left hand on your hip. Moving very slowly, draw your right knee up toward your chest. Hug your knee into your chest with your right hand.
  4. Straighten your spine. Strongly engage the muscles of your left leg and your abdominals. Straighten your left leg, but do not lock your knee.
  5. Drop your right hip slightly, so it is in line with your left hip.
  6. Keep both hips squared forward and keep your spine straight. Drop your shoulders away from your ears.
  7. Hold for 5-20 breaths. To release, slowly lower your foot to the floor. Come back to Mountain Pose. Stand still for a few breaths and re-focus. Repeat on the opposite side for the same amount of time.

Modifications & Variations

Standing Knee Hug can provide relief from tight legs and a sore lower back when practiced in correct alignment. Try these simple changes to find a variation of the pose that works for you:

 

Tips

 

In order to fully gain the benefits of Standing Knee Hug, it’s important to stay focused and calm, while still maintaining alignment. Here are a couple of tips to help you stand tall with grace and ease:

 

 

You Deserve a Hug

Standing Knee Hug has many benefits for your mind and lower body. Practicing this pose regularly will also help prepare your mind and body for more challenging hamstring stretches and balancing poses. Remember to take it slowly. If balancing is difficult and you get frustrated, ease up a bit and practice some other poses to clear your head. Then come back to Standing Knee Hug and try again. With patience and dedication, you'll gain all of the benefits this pose has to offer.