The Leg-Lock   
by: Vasanthi Bhat and Rajiv Jaswa (

The Leg Lock is an asana or yogic pose that has numerous benefits. The Leg Lock is a simple warm-up that has the greatest effect upon the neck and upper back. This article will focus upon the mental and physical benefits that are a result of this stretch’s effect upon the neck and upper back.

The Mental Benefits of the Leg Lock

Nearly everyone accumulates stress and tension during their lives. However, stress is harmful both physically and mentally. Stress is stored as muscle tension making the muscles stiff and tight. Most of our tension is stored in the neck and upper back areas. Since the Leg Lock stretches out these areas, it helps release stress and tension. Therefore, it is a very relaxing pose that can be used to relieve stress almost instantaneously.

The Physical Benefits of the Leg Lock

This asana stretches out the upper back and neck, and therefore its benefits center upon the muscles in these regions. The Leg lock is useful to those who suffer from neck and upper back pains. It also prevents whiplash and chronic back problems as it strengthens these muscles. This pose also stretches lower back spine, the hip, and the abdominal muscles. The Leg Lock also compresses the abdominal region. The stomach, pancreas, small and large intestines, are all massaged through abdominal compression. Therefore, it is helpful with complications of those organs, which include diabetes and various forms of cancer. As evident, this pose is extremely powerful with tremendous benefits that can be achieved through consistent practice.

Practicing the Leg Lock

This pose can be used to warm-up with during a morning or evening routine in which you may practice various other asanas. This pose can also be done individually, or can used as part of a warm-up routine before or after any physical activity. Follow the procedure listed below.

  • Lying down completely flat, bend one leg at the knee. Then, hold that same knee with both hands.
  • Then exhale and pull your stomach in while raising your your head and upper back.
  • Within a few seconds, lower your head slowly while inhaling.
  • Repeat the previous two steps a few times in order to loosen up the neck and upper back muscles.
  • Then, if you wish, you may raise your head and then leave your head raised for a longer period of time. During the time in which your head is raised, resume normal breathing.
  • Before you strain your muscles excessively, lower your head and relax.
  • Then, repeat this procedure with your other leg.

How to practice the Two Leg Lock

  • Lying down completely flat, bend both legs at the knees. Then, hold both knees with each of your hands.
  • Then exhale and pull your stomach in while raising your head.
  • Before straining your muscles excessively, lower your head and relax.
  • You may also practice a variation of this pose, in which your back and head remains flat on the ground while you clutch both of your knees as close as comfortable to your stomach.


As everybody’s body is different and has different needs, the procedure above is simply a guideline, and it is better to try variations of the procedure listed above until you find what suits your body. Remember never to strain your body. It not only harms your body, but also detracts from the benefits achieved through practicing this pose. Finally, when practicing this pose try to find a quiet or isolated area environment where you may relax and focus upon the benefits of this asana or meditiate if you so desire.

Vasanthi Bhat is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, author, publisher, and producer. She is also the founder of Vasantha Yoga Health and Fitness Center in San Jose, California. She has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 22 years.

Vasanthi has produced a series of Video tapes, audio CDs, and has written several books.

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