Revolved Head to Knee Pose / Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana
Step by step
- Start in Dandasana
- Bring the right leg wide out to the side - as in Upavistha Konasana. Bend the left knee and bring the heel in towards the groin as in Baddha Konasana.
- Ground through the sitting bones and inhale as you extend through the crown of the head. Exhale, twist the upper body to the left (facing the bent knee) and take a side bend to the right. So the right side of the body extends out over the outstretched leg and the ribs are rotating around as if trying to face the ceiling.
- Bring the right elbow towards the right knee or floor.
- Raise the left arm and bring it over the head. If you can reach it without strain take hold of the right foot with both hands.
- Slightly tuck the chin and turn the head so gaze is towards the ceiling.
- Stay in the pose for five deep breaths then reverse the steps to come out of the pose.
- Inhale, lift through the top arm bringing the body upright and the twist back to face the front and bring the legs back straight in Dandasana.
- Stay in Dandasana for a moment to let the body settle before switching legs and repeat on the other side.
- This is a great lateral stretch for the spine (side stretch) and helps to release tension in the intercostal muscles between the ribs and on the side and back of the body. Encourages full, deep breaths.
- Side stretches such as this are a good counterpose if you practice lots of Chaturanga Dandasana.
- Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana helps to stretch and open up the hamstrings, groins and shoulders.
- Focus on the side stretch element of this pose rather than bending forward to get the elbow to the floor. You can bring your right hand on to the right leg or floor instead of your elbow. For more height you could place a block on the inside of the leg and lean your forearm on that.
- Keep the knees bent slightly if your hamstrings are tight.
- Use a belt or scarf looped around the outstretched foot if you can’t reach it with your hands.
Watch out for
- Knee injuries - if you have problems with your knees practice the same upper body actions but keep both legs straight in Upavistha Konasana instead of bending one. You can place rolled up towels under your knees to elevate them if it’s not comfortable to straighten the legs.
- Neck injuries - you can keep your gaze to the floor in front of you, or use your right hand as a headrest to take the weight of your head.
- Try not to crunch the right side body as you lean to the right, think about keeping some space and length in both side waists.
- If you can comfortably take hold of the right foot with both hands bring the left arm across the body, press the top of the left thigh down and out to increase the stretch.
- Another variation is to change the bent leg so that the heel comes to the outer hip as in Virasana.
- Complementary poses
- Try it in class