Why Can’t I Keep My Legs Straight In Navasana?

March 10, 2020

Transcript below of: Why can’t I keep my legs straight in navasana?

Hey everybody! Welcome to this month’s question of the month. You can always submit your own question by going to yoganatomy.com/myquestion. Once you submit it, we’ll take a look at it and see if we can answer it on video just like I’m doing right now. This month’s question comes from Charlotte. It’s about getting the legs straight in navasana.

The Question:

Hi, My question is regarding navasana. I could not keep my legs straight in navasana to save my own life. [DK: Wow, that’s pretty intense!] They feel so heavy (I have a short torso and long legs). I am assuming it might be a matter of psoas, but I am not sure I understand why or what is happening. So why is it harder for some people to keep their legs straight in navasana and what can be done to change that?

The Answer:

Alright, good question Charlotte. And you know, I’ll start by saying, certainly proportions and leg length relative to torso length can have an impact. Right, the legs being long make a longer lever arm and have a tendency to tilt things down in that way or act as more weight that your psoas has to work against. So, I think that you’re thinking along the correct lines there.

But, there is a bigger restriction to keeping the knees or legs straight as you say, because when you say you’re not keeping your legs straight in navasana, that’s happening at the knees. So, then you want to look at the quadriceps strength relative to hamstring tension. And so, for the most part, what happens is people who can’t straighten their legs in navasana don’t have enough flexibility in the hamstrings and/or strength in their quadriceps to maintain the length in the hamstrings during a posture like navasana.

Of course, if you get the legs straight in navasana, it’s possible that the pelvis tilts under, and then you roll back or you roll forward depending on leg length or torso length being longer or shorter. So, it’s more about looking at balance. It’s always difficult to answer these questions when I can’t see you doing navasana and look at your particular situation. But, the more important relationship for straight legs in navasana is quadriceps to hamstrings. So, my question to you would be, do you have tight hamstrings? If you do, chances are that that is the main reason that you can’t straighten your knees.

Alright, I hope that helped and directed your attention somewhere that will be useful. If you’ve got a question, go to yoganatomy.com/myquestion and we’ll get it answered on video for you.

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