A favourite pose of our senior Yin teacher trainer Tara Fitzgibbon, and sure to feature on the upcoming Yin Yoga Retreat – Half Butterfly (as it’s known in Yin) differs in essence to it’s hatha yoga counterpart Janu Sirasana A.

To the casual eye the pose looks the same. However, as Tara says ‘In Yin yoga this pose is held for about 5 minutes on each side. This allows the hamstring to stretch more fully and the hip joint to open beyond that which is achieved in the 10 breaths or so common to conventional Hatha yoga. Holding the pose for longer also works deeply into the connective tissue and, on an emotional level, there is the opportunity to release and let go.’

In Yin style, the arms are placed on the ground either side of the straight leg, palms facing up. It’s OK to allow the back to round slightly and the head to relax. Close your eyes, focus on the breath and enjoy. The aim is to soften and surrender.


  • A wonderful gentle stretch for the lower back and hamstrings. This pose also works to stimulate internal organs including the liver, kidneys and digestive system.

Contraindications and Cautions:

  • If the bent knee does not rest comfortably on the floor, support it with a blanket or block. If the hamstrings are very tight you may like to bend the straight leg slightly. Take care, it may aggravate sciatica and unstable sacroiliac joints. Lower back or neck issues should take it easy or perhaps try a reclining variation.