Revolved Side Angle Pose, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, (PAHR-ee-VREE-tah PARZH-vuh-ko-NAH-suh-nuh)
parivrtta (revolved) + parsva (side or flank) + kona (angle) + asana (pose)
Also Known as: Twisting Side Angle pose, Rotated Side Angle pose, Side Angle Twist
Pose Type: Stretching, Strengthening, Balancing, Twisting
Challenge your balance and flexibility as you twist deeply and ground down through your heel.
Revolved Side Angle Pose Fundamentals
Energize your body and build your foundation with this powerful standing pose. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana combines balancing and twisting and works on your entire body, from the tips of your toes to your shoulders and neck.
In Sanskrit, ‘parivrtta’ means to rotate to a twist, and in this pose, the twisting action is combined with grounding, allowing you to feel both stable and lifted.
The pose is complex and there are many alignment elements you need to think about, which can make it challenging for beginners.
For example, you will need to have a strong upper body to be able to place the elbows on the outside of the front knee. The position of the upper body contracts the stomach and the chest, which can also challenge your breath, making breath awareness crucial for performing the asana.
You can use your breath to help you both ground and lift. Engaging your foot and pressing it firmly into the ground will also help you achieve that, giving you a combined sensation of stability and space.
The sense of power this pose gives you also comes from stabilizing and engaging the pelvis. Physically, maintaining this engagement ensures you’re not dropping too low in the pose.
As an asymmetrical pose, Revolved Side Angle can help you work on balancing both sides of your body.
Revolved Side Angle Pose On An Energetic Level
Energetically, combining a side bend, forward bend, and a twist, this pose can encourage the free flow of prana in the body, especially if paired with proper breathing.
Holding the pose for longer frees three energies to move through your body – udana vayu, which flows upwards, apana vayu, which flows downwards, and samana vayu which flows sideways.
Unblocking all three energy flows may boost your overall health and allow you to release emotional blockages. Consequently, that will allow you to deepen your work on mind-to-body connection.
The main mental benefits of this pose are greater stability and confidence. The namaste mudra balances this confidence with true empowerment, which includes staying humble.
Combining all these elements is what makes Revolved Side Angle so powerful. By focusing on this deeper intention, you will be able to surpass the physical challenges of the pose. Remain in the present moment and stay consistent with your practice, and the results will come.
Revolved Side Angle Pose Benefits
- The pose stretches the neck, shoulders, chest, back, quadriceps, hamstrings, and psoas muscles – virtually your entire body.
- The lunge position tones leg muscles and strengthens the knees, feet, and ankles, and the action of twisting and lifting works on the strength of the entire core.
- The pose opens the chest, allowing fresh blood to reach the breathing muscles. Pressing the body into the front knee slightly contracts the diaphragm, but that may encourage you to increase your focus on correcting your breathing.
- The pose will teach you to use your focus and breath awareness to overcome physical and other challenges, which will prove useful in more advanced yoga positions.
- Stimulates and massages the soft internal organs of the chest and abdomen. In this manner, it boosts metabolism and detoxifies the organs.
How To Do Revolved Side Angle Pose: Step-By-Step
How To Get There:
1. Begin in Chair Pose, and with an inhale bring your right foot back into a lunge. Your left leg should form a 90-degree angle, with the left knee stacked directly over the left ankle.
2. Place the right knee on the floor to slowly open the hips and align your hips.
3. Now, twist your entire upper body towards the left, and place the right elbow on the outside of the left knee. Bring your hands together, into a prayer position. Keep your chest open and look towards the sky.
4. Remain here, or lift your right knee. You can keep your toes tucked or bring your heel to the ground to increase the stretch in the ankle and the back of the leg.
5. Keep your hands in prayer position, or if accessible open the arms, placing the right arm on the floor next to your left foot, and bringing the left arm up and overhead.
6. With every inhale, work on further lifting and engaging your legs and upper body, and with each exhalation deepen your twist.
7. Hold the pose for 2 to 6 breaths.
8. To release the pose, first, bring your arms down to each side of your front foot and come back to Runner’s Lunge. You can perform a Vinyasa, or come right back to Chair Pose. Then repeat the same steps on the other side.
Tips And Tricks:
- Press the floor firmly with your feet to find space in your upper body and stability in your legs.
- Draw your shoulders back and keep them away from the ears.
- Push your hips towards the floor to increase the stretch in the legs.
- When entering the pose, start by focusing on the leg and foot placement and engagement, then work on the position of your hips and upper body. Only when you’ve built a strong foundation, should you begin twisting your body.
- Keep your leg and core muscles engaged, and your spine long.
- If you’re practicing with your heel down, focus on pressing the outer side of your foot into the mat.
- If the pose strains your neck, look straight ahead or down instead of turning your head to look towards the ceiling.
Revolved Side Angle Pose Variations
In the full expression of the pose, the back heel presses into the mat entirely. However, if that’s too challenging for you, keep the heel lifted.
If you’re performing this variation, you should keep your toes turned in rather than opening them to the side as you would when the entire foot is on the ground.
You can also press the back heel into a wall, or elevate it on a folded blanket to feel a similar sensation as you would with your heel on the floor.
With A Block
When opening your arms to the sides, it may be difficult to reach the floor with the bottom hand, while maintaining length in the spine.
If that’s true for you, simply place a block beneath the bottom hand to feel the same benefit without forcing the stretch. Adjust the height of the block depending on the depth that’s most suitable for you.
Lift your back heel in this pose too to make it more accessible.
This variation is ideal for those with tight shoulders and spine, or larger stomach and chest.
Revolved Side Angle Pose Variation: Bound Revolved Side Angle Pose
If you want to feel a deeper stretch in this pose, you can take a bind.
Starting from the full expression of the pose, with your arms extended, press the bottom arm against the front leg to deepen the twist. Then bend the elbow of the top arm and place the back of the hand on your lower back. Move the bottom arm below the front thigh, and try to clasp the top hand behind your lower back.
Precautions & Contraindications:
Crunching The Side Waist. If you are not able to keep the side waist long, keep your hands in the prayer position or rest your forearm on your front thigh.
Front Knee Collapsing. Don’t allow your front knee to collapse. Keep it directly above your ankle and point it forward, in the same direction as the toes. You can imagine pushing it slightly outwards to maintain this action.
Injuries and Conditions
Avoid the pose if you have an injury in your joints, including the wrists, knees, shoulders, and ankles. Also refrain from practicing if you’ve recently had an injury or surgery in the hips, rib cage, and spine.
Finally, it would be best not to practice if you suffer from serious abdominal issues, struggle with balancing issues, have a migraine, or spinal disorder. Due to the combination of balancing and twisting, this pose is also not advisable for pregnant women.
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