How to Do Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana) in Yoga

Proper Form, Variations, and Common Mistakes

Woman doing revolved side angle pose on yoga mat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Also Known As: Twisting Side Angle, Rotated Side Angle, Side Angle Twist

Targets: Balance, leg flexibility, stretch for the whole body

Level: Intermediate

The Sanskrit names of twists, or revolved poses, have the word parivrrta in front. In a classic Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), if the right foot is forward, the right hand is also forward. In Revolved Side Angle, when the right foot is forward, it's the left hand that goes with it. This changes the direction of your twist, which is where the revolved part comes in. This pose is part of the primary series of Ashtanga yoga and it is seen in other styles as well.

Benefits

This pose strengthens and stretches legs, groins, hamstrings and even the lungs. It also opens the chest and shoulders. Revolved poses are traditionally believed to help stimulate the organs and promote good circulation and range of motion. Many people find that these poses help relieve stress and they may help reduce back pain.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. From Downward Facing Dog, bring your left foot forward to the inside your left hand. Your toes should be in line with your fingers.
  2. Your leg should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your thigh parallel to the floor. Knee is stacked above the heel with foot facing forward.
  3. Pivot on the ball of your right foot to drop your right heel down to the floor.
  4. Place your right hand to the outside of your left foot allowing your right shoulder to rest on the outside of the left knee. If possible, allow your hand to be flat on the ground with the heel of the hand aligning with heel of the left foot.
  5. Draw your belly button toward your spine as you twist your torso toward your left knee, opening the chest and stacking the right shoulder on top of the left.
  6. Lift your left arm up toward the ceiling. Bring your gaze up to the left hand.
  7. Stay in the twist for three to five breaths. Step back to Downward Dog and then do the pose with the right foot forward.

Common Mistakes

To get the most from this pose, avoid these errors.

Neck Position

If needed, keep your neck in a neutral position so you don't strain your cervical spine. Look forward, not up if you have neck sensitivity.

Spinal Alignment

In this pose, your spine is twisted but not curved. You should have a straight line and a neutral spine. You want to avoid rounding the back or curving it forward. Allow the twist to come from the waist as if the heart could rotate towards the sky.

Knee Not Over Ankle

To protect your knee, it must be kept over the ankle.

Modifications and Variations

This pose can be done in different ways to match your level of practice. There are a number of different ways to place your arms in this pose. The bottom hand can go inside or outside the front foot; the top arm, straight up or over your ear.

Need a Modification?

If the right hand doesn't comfortably reach the floor, take a block under it so that you can still benefit from the twist. You can also stay on your fingertips instead of bringing your right hand flat.

Another variation is to stay on the ball on of your right foot instead of dropping your right heel. This makes the legs more like a lunge and is easier on the back knee.

Up for a Challenge?

Bring the right hand to the outside of the left foot instead of the inside. Your right shoulder will have to come to the outside of your left knee. This will intensify the twist and challenge your balance. It's OK to use a block under your hand here or stay up on your fingertips if you need to.

Release your left arm over your left ear so that it reaches toward the front of the room. Turn your thumb toward the ceiling and your pinky toward the floor. Your gaze comes up under the left biceps.

Safety and Precautions

You should avoid this pose if you have an injury to the neck, back, or shoulders. As it requires balance, it may not be suitable for people with high or low blood pressure or those who are pregnant. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if it is a safe pose for you, especially if you have an injury to your hips, back, shoulder, or knee. Avoid this pose when you have diarrhea.

Try It Out

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

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Article Sources
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