Janu Sirsasana is a side bend with a strong stretch of the extended leg. The legs are roughly positioned the same as in Janu Sirsasana but the actions in the pose are quite different. There are several ways to get into the pose. I will describe my favorite below.
Start in Dandasana. Extend the left leg out to the side about 45 degrees, then bend the right foot and place the right toes in front of the pelvis. Exhale and bend to the left, placing the left elbow on the inside of the left thigh. Press into the leg to open up the right side of the chest and the shoulder. With an inhale, bring the right arm over the ear, palm facing down and stretch the right side of the torso. Draw the shoulder blade lightly down the back. At the same time lengthen the left side of the torso over the extended leg. There will be both a rotation of the spine and a lateral bend of the spine occurring in the pose. The side bending portion of the pose is grounded by the right thigh, so press that femur into the mat. Keep the toes and the knee of the left leg pointing straight up. The gaze should be up under the right arm or up to the right hand.
For those with enough flexibility, reach the left hand out to the inside of the left foot with palm rotated so the thumb points down and the pinkie points up. Try and bring the left shoulder to the inside of the leg. Then bring the right arm to the outside of the left foot. Only go as far as you can while still keeping the right side of the chest open. You can deepen the pose here by keeping the hands on the left foot and opening the elbows or (my preferred method) you can keep the right hand on the left foot and reach the left arm to the inside of the leg (see above picture) and use the leverage to open up more to the side.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!