Revolved Head-of-Knee Pose or Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana is a deep, seated twist that stretches the whole body, and strengthens your legs and core. It’s a powerful variation of the forward fold, Head-of-Knee Pose or Janu Sirsasana, that deepens the stretch to the hamstrings and spine, while providing all of the benefits of a spinal twist.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Avoid practicing this pose if you are currently suffering from asthma or diarrhea. People with injuries to the hips, back, shoulder, or knee should only practice this pose under the guidance of an experienced person.
How To Do The Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- Sit on the edge of a firm blanket with your legs extended in front of you in Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).
- Place your hands on the floor behind your body and lean your torso back slightly. Then open your legs as wide as it is comfortable. Work toward opening your legs to a 90-degree angle (with the pelvis as the apex).
- Keep the tops of your kneecaps and your toes pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Flex your feet and strongly engage your thigh muscles, pressing your legs down toward the floor. Reach out through your heels.
- Bring the sole of your left foot to the inside of your right thigh.
- On an exhalation, lean to the right. Slide your right hand along the inner edge of your right leg, palm facing up, toward your right foot’s toes Press your right shoulder blade against the inside of your right knee, and let your forearm rest on the floor. Turn your right hand to clasp the inner edge of your right foot. Hold the sole of your foot with your fingers, and the top of your foot with your thumb.
- Reach your left hand’s fingers up toward the ceiling. Then reach toward your right foot, bringing your left arm directly over your left ear. Rest your left bicep alongside your head. Clasp the outer edge of your right foot.
- Draw your left shoulder back, keeping your chest open. Turn your head to look up at the ceiling. If doing so hurts your neck, gaze forward, instead.
- Twist your upper torso further, opening your torso and chest toward the ceiling.
- Keep your left thigh bone drawing firmly down toward the floor.
- With each inhalation, lengthen the front torso. With each exhalation, twist deeper.
- Hold for 30 seconds. To release the pose, unwind your torso and bring it to the center line between your legs. Press your tailbone toward the floor as you inhale and lift your torso. Extend your left leg along the floor next to your right leg. Then repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same length of time.
Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Keep the front of your torso long throughout the pose. Dropping your head down and rounding your spine can over-stress and injure your back, hamstrings, or groins. Use a strap around your extended-leg’s foot if needed. Work on keeping your torso and spine long as you twist and fold.
- Un-twist before coming back to a seated position. Never return to a seated position while you are still twisting.
- Use your elbows and forearms to help twist your upper torso.
- Keep your bottom shoulder pressing against the inside of your knee. Bend your knee slightly, if needed, to ensure that your shoulder stays in place.
It’s better to keep the bottom shoulder in contact with the inner knee than to lose the contact in order to straighten the knee completely.
Modifications & Variations
This pose is a very deep stretch for many different muscles in your body. Remember to be gentle and ease into the pose.
- If your hamstrings are feeling tight, keep your right knee bent. You will find that it is more beneficial to your body to begin with a bent knee, and work to straighten it as you become more flexible.
- As with any seated pose, it’s helpful to use a prop underneath your sitz bones. This will allow the leverage your body needs to sit with a straight spine, rather than hunching your spine over. Try a blanket, bolster, or even roll your mat beneath you.
Benefits Of The Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana
- Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana stretches the hamstrings, spine, shoulders, lower back, and the sides of the abdomen.
- It provides a spinal twist that massages and stimulates your digestive organs, which helps to improve digestion.
- This pose also calms the mind, relieving anxiety, fatigue, and mild depression.
- It is also known to be therapeutic for headaches and insomnia.
The follow up poses include complicated head stands and shoulder stands.
Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana can be a great pose to add variety to your seated floor practice. Regularly practicing this twist will keep your hamstrings and spine limber, and your mind calm. Remember to take it slowly and be gentle with your movements in this pose.