Want to learn more about Parivrtta Parsvakonasana aka Revolved Side Angle Pose? In this post, I share the benefits of this pose, a complete pose breakdown, contraindications, myths, a step-by-step video, modifications and more.
Revolved Side Angle Pose, in the final form, is a pose that demands a great deal of flexibility, balance, and a strong core. While you are on your journey to Parivrtta Parsvakonasana there are some modifications that make this pose much more accessible. Practicing these variations will help you build the strength, flexibility, and persistence that this pose requires. Check out the Modifications & Variations section if you’re new to practicing this pose.
Are you ready? Let’s get twisted…
- Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Quick Facts
- Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Benefits
- Precautions & Contraindications
- Myths & Misconceptions About Revolved Side Angle Pose
- Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Breakdown
- Modifications & Variations
- Yoga Poses Related to Seated Revolved Side Angle Pose
- Related Posts & Videos
- Gear & Resources for This Pose
- A Final Note About Revolved Side Angle Pose
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Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Quick Facts
|Revolved Side Angle Pose / Twisted Side Angle Pose
|Parivrtta means revolved or turned around.
Parsva means side (as in the side of your body).
Kona means angle.
Asana means pose or posture.
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is generally translated as Revolved Side Angle Pose.
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Benefits
Note: I only include the scientifically supported benefits of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana here. Plenty of claims about other supposed benefits (from the plausible to the magical to the ridiculous) have been made. To me, pseudo-scientific claims only serve to harm the yoga community, so I choose not to give them airtime here.
The main physical benefits of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana include:
- Challenges your balance, which builds strength in the muscles that support your balance work.
- Strengthens your quads and hamstrings, knees and ankles.
- Strengthens your shoulders, obliques and deep core.
- Stretches the hamstrings, groin, shoulders and chest.
- Stretches the hamstrings and inner thigh on the front leg, the outer hip and calf on the back leg, and the torso and chest.
- Stretches the spine and helps maintain mobility of the spine.
- Stretches the whole spine.
- Twisting your neck strengthens neck muscles.
- Said to be beneficial for people who suffer from sciatica pain.
- Can help relieve lower back pain.
- Some students find that practicing twisted poses helps to reduce stress.
If you want more on the benefits of yoga, see our complete guide to the benefits of yoga, which includes a history of yoga plus the origins of our modern yoga practice and much more.
Precautions & Contraindications
Remember that while yoga is for everyone, not all poses are for all people! Always consult with your medical professional.
- Use your best judgement, however it is likely you will want to avoid this pose if you have an injury to your neck, back, or shoulders.
- If you have a spinal injury, you may want to avoid this pose.
- If you have a hamstring tear or injury, you likely want to avoid this pose.
- If you recently had abdominal surgery, or you currently have a hernia, it is best to avoid this pose until you have healed.
- If you have high or low blood pressure, you may wish to modify this pose.
- Closed twists are not recommended in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Myths & Misconceptions About Revolved Side Angle Pose
Pseudo-science and yoga twists
One of the often repeated claims about Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is that, because the pose contracts your abdomen it must also be compressing your abdominal organs, which is said to aid digestion.
There simply isn’t any scientific evidence to support the claims that twisted yoga poses improve your digestion.
In my experience, this is one of those things yoga teachers repeat because they learned it from their teacher, or they read about it in Light on Yoga or another yoga resource.
It is not, as far as I (and other yoga teachers) can discover, based on any scientific research.
Dr. Nolan Lee, in an article for YogaU, states that any poses that compress your belly — like Ananda Balasana/Happy Baby, Ardha Matsyendrasana /Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Karnapidasana/Ear Pressure Pose — “all likely work similarly to abdominal massage.”
However, he says he is suspicious of some of the other claims out in the yoga world:
“It is fairly common among yogis to say always twist to the right first and then left, or bad things might happen, like constipation! The idea is to twist to the right and squeeze everything up. Then twist to the left to squeeze it down and out to keep everything moving in the correct direction… I’m pretty sure that I’ve twisted left before right at some point and have lived to tell about it.”
Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Breakdown
How to do Parivrtta Parsvakonasana
- Stand in Tadasana at the top of your mat.
- Fold forward into Uttanasana (Forward Fold).
- Bend your knees so that you can bring your hands to the ground on either side of your feet. Come up onto your fingertips.
- Step your left leg back to Banarasana (High Lunge Pose), bend your right knee over your ankle.
- Step your left foot forward slightly to shorten the distance between your feet (by roughly the length of your foot).
- Turn your left heel in and down to the ground. Have your left foot turned forward approximately 45º while also keeping your foot flat on the ground. Line up both heels in line with each other.
- Bring your hands onto your waist, lift your torso, and stretch your arms up and overhead. Look up, bring your hands together and stretch your arms straight into Virabhadrasana 1.
- Bring your hands in front of your heart in Anjali Mudra.
- Place your right hand on your right thigh and stretch up through your left arm.
- Pull your right hip back and down as you twist to the right and touch your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
- Push down with your right hand, lift your torso a little, and twist more deeply so that your can start to slide your left arm down your outer right leg.
- Place your left hand on the ground outside your right foot.
- Bring your right hand onto your right hip. Push down and pull back with your right hand to move your right hip back and down as you twist your torso to the right.
- Engage the inner thigh of your back leg and push down through the outer edge of your left foot.
- Stretch your right arm along your ear and out past the top of your head. Stretch your arm straight.
- Push your left arm into your right leg and resist with your left leg. Deepen your twist.
- This is Parivrtta Parsvakonasana.
- To come out, reverse these actions. Remember that this is a two-sided pose. Don’t forget to practice both sides!
- A gentle symmetrical pose like Uttanasana or Balasana will help you reset after your Revolved Side Angle Pose practice.
Modifications & Variations
Remember, the pose isn’t the point. The practice of the pose is. That’s where the adventure lives. If we could just do every pose easily, we’d lose the opportunity for discovery, adventure, and growth that yoga offers us.
Once you are comfortable with these poses, I recommend practicing a modified version of Revolved Side Angle to help you get ready for the full pose.
When you are learning this pose there are two modified versions you can use to practice the shape and build the flexibility and strength needed for Parivrtta Parsvakonasana:
- Twisted Low Lunge (back knee down, twist and bring your opposite elbow to your front leg)
- Twisted Lunge (as above, but with your back knee off the ground)
The hip on the side you twist towards is going to want to lift up and move wider than your front knee. Work to move it inline with your front knee. This will also help pull your torso into position, allowing you to move your top shoulder back more, so you can open your chest and bring your arm overhead, alongside your ear.
Check out the Preparatory Poses section below for a list of poses I recommend you add to your practice to work on your Parivrtta Parsvakonasana more.
- Twisted Low Lunge — From Low Lunge (Ashwa Sanchalanasana), with your back knee down, twist and bring your opposite elbow to your front leg, and your hands into prayer with your top elbow pointing up.
- Twisted Lunge — As above, but starting from Asta Chandrasana (Crescent Lunge Pose) with your back knee off the ground.
If your neck hurts looking up
You don’t have to look up. Instead you can keep your neck in a position that feels good. You don’t need to strain your cervical spine or the muscles that support it. So, if your neck hurts when you look up, you can look down at your front foot or hand, or look forward or out to the side.
If you’re close to getting your heel down
Support your heel by placing a yoga blanket or a foam yoga wedge under the outer edge of your foot so that you can press down into that. This will help you build the awareness of what it feels like to keep your whole back foot grounded and build the strength needed to maintain that grounding. The overall stability of your pose will benefit, and that will the affect how much your can twist in the pose.
If straightening your top arm is difficult
You’re in good company. I also find it very difficult to straighten my top arm alongside my ear and out past the top of my mat in Parivrtta Parsvakonasana. I actually had to shoot the step-by-step video breakdown twice because when I went back and looked at it, my right arms was nowhere near straight.
So what? It’s not the end of the world, but for the video I want to demonstrate the best version of the pose that I can do for you. Here are some options for you, if it is also hard for you to straighten your arm.
- You can place your hand on your top hip and leave it there.
- You can stretch your arm straight up towards the ceiling.
- You can stretch your arm back and place your hand on your back thigh with your arm straight.
- You can find your own arm variation that you like.
- Work for the final form and hear your teacher in your head saying “Straighten your arm.” And then see if you can straighten it more.
If your hand doesn’t reach the ground
Place a yoga block (or 2) under it so you can connect to the ground, and make a connection between your arm/shoulder and front leg. That connection is key to finding your balance and deepening your twist.
You can also stay on your fingertips for as long as you need, instead of bringing your hand flat to the ground. Over time you may find the ability to bring your hand flat to the ground, but it’s not the be all and end all. Your life probably won’t change dramatically if you can place your hand flat — I can tell you that mine didn’t once I was able to.
Yoga Poses Related to Seated Revolved Side Angle Pose
- Marjaryasana and Bitilasana / Cat and Cow Pose
- Banarasana / High Lunge Pose
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Low Lunge Pose
- Uttanasana / Standing Forward Fold
- Ardha Uttanasana / Half Forward Fold Pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Dog Pose
- Indudalasana / Standing Side Bend
- Salabhasana Variations / Locust Pose Variation
- Trikonasana / Triangle Pose
- Vrksasana / Tree Pose
- Prasarita Padottanasana / Wide Leg Forward Fold
- Asta Chandrasana / Crescent Lunge Pose
- Anjaneyasana / Son of Anjani Pose
- Parivrtta Banarasana / Twisted Lunge
- Parsva Parivrtta Parsvakonasana / Twisted Side Angle Pose
- Virabhadrasana 1 / Warrior 1 Pose
- Parsvottanasana / Pyramid Pose
- Parivrtta Trikonasana / Revolved Triangle Pose
- Utthita Parsvakonasana / Extended Side Angle Pose
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana / Bridge Pose
- Balasana / Child’s Pose
- Vajrasana / Thunderbolt Pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Dog Pose
- Viparita Karani / Legs Up The Wall Pose
Poses To Take Your Practice Further
- Baddha Parivrtta Parsvakonasana / Bound Side Angle Pose
- Svarga Dvijasana / Bird of Paradise Pose
- Kurmasana / Turtle Pose
- Bhujapidasana / Shoulder Pressure Pose
- Vishvamitrasana / Vishvamita’s Pose
Related Posts & Videos
- Post: Ashwa Sanchalanasana Benefits & Yoga Pose Breakdown
- Post: Virabhadrasana 1 Benefits & Yoga Pose Tutorial
- Video: Yoga Pose Breakdown | Parivrtta Parsvakonasana
Gear & Resources for This Pose
- BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga
- Darren Rhodes Yoga Resource Practice Manual
- Yoloha Cork Yoga Mat with plant-based foam
- Yoloha Cork Yoga Blocks
- Machine Washable Vegan Yoga Blankets
- Foam Yoga Wedge
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A Final Note About Revolved Side Angle Pose
I think my best advice when approaching Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is to:
- Be prepared to fall out of the pose
- Take time working on Twisted Lunge (Parivrtta Banarasana), Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana), Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) and Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana).
As always, working on the pieces of the pose that you need to refine is going to benefit your practice in the long run. Once Revolved Triangle becomes a pose you are comfortable in, you are going to find your Parivrrta Parsvakonasana has also improved dramatically. So keep practicing!
See you on (and off) the ice OMies, Stephen
I hope this post helps your find ways that Parivrtta Parsvakonasana can help support you on your yoga adventure. I want these posts to inspire you to explore your yoga practice more deeply and I hope this post helps you see this fairly common pose with new awareness and understanding. The more you understand about each pose the more it will help you find the strength and clarity needed to live your adventure to the fullest!