Want to learn more about Parivrtta Trikonasana, or Revolved Triangle Pose? In this post, I share the benefits of Parivrtta Trikonasana, a complete pose breakdown, contraindications, and do a bit of myth debunking. Plus there’s a step-by-step video, modifications and more.
Parivrtta Trikonasana is a pose that requires long hamstrings, demands a strong core, and necessitates a deep torso twist. Just to make it more fun, it forces you to figure out how to balance when you are all twisted up. Welcome to Parivrtta Trikonasana — a pose that even the most advanced students can find challenging.
For each of the posts on this website, I write a list of poses to help you prepare for the pose. I don’t think there has been a longer list of Preparatory Poses than the list I made for Revolved Triangle. It takes that much work, but also that means there is that much to work on.
It seems that pretty much everything else you do in yoga is preparing you for this pose in some way.
- Parivrtta Trikonasana Quick Facts
- Parivrtta Trikonasana Benefits
- Precautions & Contraindications
- Misconceptions & Myths About Revolved Triangle Pose
- Parivrtta Trikonasana Pose Breakdown
- Modification & Variations
- Yoga Poses Related to Revolved Triangle Pose
- Related Posts & Videos
- Gear & Resources for This Pose
- A Final Note About Revolved Triangle Pose
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Parivrtta Trikonasana Quick Facts
|Revolved Triangle Pose / Twisted Triangle
|Parivrtta means to turn around, or revolved.
Tri means three.
Kona means angle.
Trikona means triangle.
Asana means pose or posture.
Parivrtta Trikonasana means Revolved Triangle Pose and is sometimes referred to as Twisted Triangle.
Parivrtta Trikonasana Benefits
Note: I only include the scientifically supported benefits of Parivrtta Trikonasana 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 Trikonasana include:
- Strengthens your core — your obliques and abdominals and back all get strengthened.
- Strengthens your quads, hamstrings, your calf and shin muscles.
- Stretches your hamstrings helping improve their flexibility.
- Strengthens mid-trapezius and rhomboids.
- Builds strength in your arms (biceps and triceps), shoulders and wrists extensors.
- Stretches chest / pectoralis major.
- Strengthens your obliques.
- Stretches your obliques.
- Strengthens your erector spinae.
- Stretches your erector spinae.
- Strengthens your gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.
- Stretches your psoas and other hip flexors.
- Stretches your leg adductors (inner thighs).
- Strengthens your neck.
- Strengthens your lower back.
- Stretches and twists your spine.
- Can be beneficial if you are dealing with sciatica.
- Engages the deep core muscles, which helps create stability and improve balance.
Due to the side bend in this pose, you are often strengthening a muscle on one side of your body while stretching its counterpart on the other side of your body.
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! Some of the reasons you may want to avoid practicing Revolved Triangle Pose include being pregnant, having a disc injury in your spine, or blood pressure complications. Always consult with your medical professional if you have concerns about any given pose.
- If you have neck pain or a neck injury, practice this pose with care. You can look down at the ground or out to the side instead of looking up.
- If you are pregnant, deep closed twists are not recommended during certain times of your pregnancy.
- While practicing Revolved Triangle Pose can be beneficial for sciatica or SI joint issues, it can also exacerbate them.
- If you have bulging or herniated discs in your spine, practice very carefully or avoid the pose.
- If you have had back, abdominal or neck surgery recently, avoid this pose.
- If you have a migraine, vertigo, or headache, it could be made worse by practicing Parivrtta Trikonasana.
- If you have high blood pressure, do not lift your top arm up and keep looking down.
- If you have knee problems or a shoulder injury, you may wish to avoid the pose.
Misconceptions & Myths About Revolved Triangle Pose
Twists improve digestion
There simply isn’t any scientific evidence to support the claims that twisted yoga poses improve your digestion. According to myth/legend, you MUST always twist right before twisting left (or else!). Only if you do it right will you be able to evacuate your bowels like a baby!
In my experience this is a claim that 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 states that any poses that compress your belly — like Ananda Balasana/Happy Baby, Pawanmuktasana/Wind-Relieving Pose, Ardha Matsyendrasana /Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Karnapidasana/Ear Pressure Pose — “all likely work similarly to abdominal massage.” A study from 2009, says that these poses may decrease the “severity of gastrointestinal symptoms, especially constipation and abdominal pain syndrome, and increased bowel movements.”
Counter poses to Parivrtta Trikonasana
Mr Iyengar, in Light on Yoga, describes Parivrtta Trikonasana as a counter pose of Utthita Trikonasana, presumably because it stretches the opposite sides of your body and the twist is different. We tend to use counter poses to reset after a challenging pose, and Parivrtta Trikonasana is generally accepted to be more challenging that Utthita Trikonasana.
I make limited use of counter-posing and when I do use a counter pose it is generally a restorative/passive pose to help calm students’ nerves. However in Ashtanga Yoga, Parivrtta Trikonasana comes in the sequence right after the second side of Utthita Trikonasana.
Parivrtta Trikonasana Pose Breakdown
How to do Parivrtta Trikonasana / Revolved Triangle Pose
So that you’re prepared, I thought it would be helpful to point out that the foot placement I describe below is the same foot placement you do in Parsvottansana/Pyramid Pose and Virabhadrasana 1/Warrior 1.
- 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. Place your left foot so that it is turned forward approximately 45º. Keep your foot flat on the ground. Adjust your feet so that both heels are in line with each other. Note: If it is hard for you to balance with your heels lined up, you can bring your feet wider apart. See Modifications below.
- Place your hands onto your waist, lift your torso, and straighten both legs.
- Push your left (back) foot down into your mat. Turn your left knee and left hip forward to help square your hips toward the top of your mat.
- Push your right (front) foot down into your mat. Pull back with your right hip and draw it in towards you to help make your hips balanced (aka hips square). Note: They won’t be perfectly square. Just do your best.
- Hook your right thumb into the crease of your right hip and push back with your hand.
- Stretch your left arm straight up.
- Twist your torso to the right, side bend to the left a little.
- Push back with your right hand and twist your torso more to the right.
- Lower your left arm and touch outside your right leg.
- Push your forearm into your right leg and resist with your right leg. If possible, turn your torso open to the right even more.
- Look down at your left hand and move your left wrist under your left shoulder.
- If you are stable in the pose, look out to the right, or even look over your right shoulder.
- Straighten your right arm and bring your right wrist over your right shoulder. Stretch out through your arms and expand your chest.
- This is Parivrtta Trikonasana.
- To come out, bring your right hand onto your waist, bend your front knee slightly, and stand up, untwisting your torso as you stand. You can step forward to Tadasana, or come into Banarasana/Lunge and step forward into Uttanasana before standing up.
This is a two-sided pose so do both sides of Revolved Triangle before you move on to your next pose.
Modification & Variations
Check out my posts about Parsvottansana/Pyramid Pose, Virabhadrasana 1/Warrior 1, Prasarita Padottanasana/Wide Leg Forward Fold and Ashwa Sanchalanasana/Low Lunge. These poses are key to helping you prepare for Revolved Triangle Pose.
If you can’t balance in Parivrtta Trikonasana
You can also practice Revolved Triangle with your feet wider apart. With your feet hip-distance apart rather than lined up heel-to-heel, your base is wider and the pose more stable.
You can also use a yoga chair to help you balance. Place the chair on the side of your mat that you will twist towards. When you twist, place your bottom hand on the chair for stability. Over time, you may be able to bring your hand lower on the chair. One day it may come all the way to the ground. Play with adjusting where you place the chair to find what works for you.
Don’t forget your head
Keep your neck in alignment with the rest of your spine. The tendency is to lean your head forward and down towards your front hand. Instead, take your head back, lengthen through the sides and hold your head up.
You don’t have to look up
While the final pose is done, looking up is going to test your balance even more. So take your time looking down at the ground as you learn to open up and find your way into the pose. Over time, you can start to look away from the ground and slowly learn to balance while also looking up.
If your back heel comes up
Place a folded up yoga blanket — or even a yoga wedge if you have one — under your back heel so that you can press down into it. Lifting your heel can throw your balance off, so it is important to keep it down. You can also shorten your stance to make it easier, or place your heel up at the wall.
I recommend having the blanket or wedge at the same angle that you position your back foot. That way the entire outer edge of your foot can press into the prop.
If you can’t reach the outside of your leg or foot
Lots of people practice Revolved Triangle with their hand on the inside of their front leg. You can place a yoga block in the middle of your mat and touch that, or move the block over to the inside of your shin. Placing your hand inside your leg also makes the balance a lot easier when you start to add the torso twist, so that’s a win!
Don’t worry if you can’t reach the ground
Place a yoga block (or stack a couple if you need to) on either side of your front foot and touch the block. If the block is on the outside of your leg, place it so it is touching your shin.
If you don’t want to fold forward that deeply
The good news is that you don’t have to! You can hold onto the seat of a chair and use it to support you as you fold forward. This way you can take your forward fold to the place you are comfortable.
Yoga Poses Related to Revolved Triangle Pose
- Marjaryasana / Bitilasana / Cat & Cow Pose
- Baddha Konasana / Bound Angle Pose
- Uttanasana / Forward Fold Pose
- Ardha Uttanasana / Half Forward Fold Pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Dog Pose
- Prasarita Padottanasana / Wide Leg Forward Fold
- Utthita Trikonasana / Triangle Pose
- Utkatasana / Chair Pose
- Salabhasana / Locust Pose
- Indudalasana / Standing Side Bend
- Vrksasana / Tree Pose
- Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Low Lunge Pose
- Parivrtta Banarasana / Revolved Lunge
- Virabhadrasana 1 / Warrior 1 Pose
- Parsvottanasana / Pyramid Pose
- Utthita Trikonasana / Triangle Pose
- Ardha Chandrasana / Half Moon Pose
- Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana / Revolved Half Moon Pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana / Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana / Downward Dog Pose
- Balasana / Child’s Pose
Poses To Take Your Practice Further
- Parivrtta Parsvakonasana / Revolved Side Angle Pose
- Virabhadrasana 3 / Warrior 3
- Ardha Chandra Chapasana / Sugarcane Pose or Bound Half Moon Pose
- Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 / The Sage Koundiya’s Pose 1
Related Posts & Videos
- Post: Virabhadrasana 1 Benefits & Yoga Pose Tutorial
- Post: How To Do Parsvottanasana — Benefits and Pose Breakdown
- Video: Yoga Pose Breakdown | A Step-by-step guide to Parivrtta Trikonasana
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
- Folding Yoga Chair
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A Final Note About Revolved Triangle Pose
Please play with Twisted Triangle, even if you aren’t a fan of it at the moment. While I totally understand that it is a tough pose, it has so much to offer and teach you that it is worth the effort to become friends with the pose. It’s worth it!
That’s one reason why I taught a six-week online series all about Parivrtta Triikonasana recently. Over six classes we unpacked, took apart, refined, realigned and rebuilt our Twisted Triangles. If you’d like to take this series, it is available right now. Just send me a message if you’re interested.
See you on (and off) the ice OMies, Stephen
I hope this post helps you find ways that Revolved Triangle 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!