How to Do Knee to Ankle Pose (Agnistambhasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

How to Do Fire Log Pose - Agnistmbhasana
Knee to Ankle - Agnistambhasana. Ann Pizer

Also Known As: Double Pigeon, Fire Log, Square

Targets: Hip opener

Level: Intermediate

Knee to Ankle pose (Agnistambhasana) is a hip-opening seated stretch that goes by many names that describe the alignment. Your shins are stacked like logs on a fire and each knee is directly over the opposite ankle. The term Double Pigeon is used since the legs closely resemble the position of the front leg in Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana). A hip-opening stretching sequence could begin with Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana), then Knee to Ankle, followed by Head to Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana).

Benefits

This hip-opening pose can help you build and maintain hip flexibility. It moves the hip joint through its range of motion. You will feel the stretching in your groin muscles. The group of muscles called the hip flexors get tight when you spend a lot of time sitting in chairs. Stretching them can help relieve and prevent back pain and sciatica.

woman doing knee to ankle pose
Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin seated in a comfortable cross-legged position on a mat.

  1. Bring your right shin parallel to the front of the mat.
  2. Stack the left ankle directly on top of the right knee, bringing the left shin parallel to the right.
  3. Inhale and lengthen your spine.
  4. Exhale.
  5. Flex both feet.
  6. Hold for five full breaths, about one minute or more.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Common Mistakes

Learn to perfect your form by being aware of common errors.

Not Keeping Shins Stacked and Aligned

The most common issue with this pose is a tendency to let it shift into something that more closely resembles a Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana). When done correctly, your two thighs and the shins form a tight triangle. Opening the thighs further makes it a different pose. Keeping the shins lined up and stacked is hard. The top knee slips out wider as the top foot comes away from the ankle and toward the inner thigh. That's where props come in. It's better to use a block under your upper knee than to just let that knee slide out of position.

Placing Pressure on the Knees

If your hips are not open enough, the pressure will be placed on your knees. This is undesirable and can lead to knee strain. Use props if you are feeling any pressure on the knees.

Modifications and Variations

Keeping in mind this is an intermediate pose, there are ways to make it more comfortable or to deepen it.

Need a Modification?

Sit on a folded blanket if your knees are well above your hips when you sit cross-legged.

If there is a lot of space between your top knee and your bottom ankle, position a block or blanket to fill the gap for support. You can do the same thing if there's a space between your bottom knee and the floor.

Up for a Challenge?

Keeping the spine long, exhale and come into a forward bend. Pause with the elbows on your top shin to deepen your legs. Sometimes this gentle pressure can help close the gaps between knee and ankle.

You can continue forward to place your forearms on the floor in front of you if you can do so with a flat back.

Safety and Precautions

If knee pain is a problem for you, approach this pose with caution. It is a vulnerable position for the knees when done incorrectly. Remember that you can always skip a pose that's not a good fit for your body. If you feel any knee pain during this pose, come out of this pose and do not perform it.

Try It Out

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

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