Asana of the Month: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

Each month we choose a pose to focus on in each class through strong attention to alignment, variations, and/or modifications as a way to grow and expand our yogic horizons. 

image credit: Yoga Journal

This month we focus on twisting—an action that stimulates circulation and has a cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and associated glands. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) is a challenging standing pose (with a twist!) that reflects our intention to remain firmly grounded amidst the shifting natural world, as the seasons begin their transition from winter to spring, while at the same time rousing ourselves from winter’s hibernation through twisting and stretching.

Los Angeles-based yoga teacher and Yoga Journal columnist Natasha Rizopoulos reminds us that “[a]n important technique to learn for twists is an even distribution of the work required. The tendency for most of us is to twist where it’s easy and avoid twisting where it’s not. This usually means that you will overwork the neck, which is relatively mobile, and underwork the middle and upper back, parts of the spine that in many people are about as malleable and responsive as a block of cement. When you overwork an area that is already mobile and ‘open,’ you make it more vulnerable to injury. However, twists . . . can help you bring openness and awareness to the thoracic spine, which is often lethargic. Working an area that you might normally ignore creates a perfect opportunity to observe the body and mind in relationship to practice.”

Extended Side Angle

Melissa demonstrates the pose from the front.

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose):
Parivrtta = revolved or turned around
Parsva = side or flank
Kona = angle
Asana = Pose

Benefits (according to yogajournal.com):

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, spine, chest and lungs, and shoulders
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
  • Improves sense of balance
  • Improves digestion and aids elimination
  • Increases stamina
  • Therapeutic applications for low backache, sciatica, osteoporosis, infertility, and constipation

Cautions/Contraindications:

  • neck or shoulder vulnerability
  • high or low blood pressure
  • insomnia
  • headache

Preparatory Poses:

  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
  • Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
  • Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side-Angle Pose)
  • Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

Song that Most Comes to Mind While in the Posture:
Neeraj Shridhar’s Twist Song from the 2009 Bollywood film Love Aaj Kal (Love These Days).

View the video:

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