Don’t get yourself in a twist for this weeks pose of the week – Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is a great pose to practice in class and at home!
This pose not only gives a good squish to your abdominal organs, the theory being that we get a wringing effect to help stimulate them, we also build strength in our legs, core and shoulders. On top of that we get a brilliant stretch to the long side of our body and this pose can help to aid digestion and elimination!
Sinead demonstrates the pose here with the heel of the back leg slightly lifted off the floor. This is the way to practice if you’re a beginner and not feeling so open in your body. If you have been practicing a while, or feel nice and open, try to keep your back heel landed to the mat.
If you suffer from any ankle injuries, you might also feel better staying on the ball of your back foot and not trying to land the heel. Watch this pose if you suffer from blood pressure issues, you might want to practice this with caution. Also, if you have any neck issues, you do not need to look up, keep your head in whichever position feels safe and comfortable.
We advise lots of standing poses for this strong twist, although below are a few to help with the specifics:
Virabhadrasana / Warrior 1 to open the front of your hips
Parivrtta Trikonasana to get the body used to standing twists
Prasarita Padottanasana to open into the groin
Step by Step guide
Start in Tadasana at the front of your mat and step back about a leg length and a half’s distance with your left foot. Land the left foot so that the toes are turned outwards by 45 degrees or so. Bend the right knee and draw your shin forwards until it’s standing perpendicular to the floor just about your ankle. (If your knee overshoots your ankle at any point edge your front foot forward so that they’re in line again in order to protect your lovely knee).
Bring your hands together in front of your chest and take a few rounds of breath. It’s important here to firm your thighs and spread your feet to the ground so that you keep a steady base. Following this, bring awareness to your lower abdominal muscles and feel as if they are engaged inwards towards the spine, this helps to protect the lower back whilst the left hip is in extension. Finally as you inhale, imagine that the crown of your head is lifting to the ceiling, bringing length along your spine.
As you exhale, turn your torso to the right and lower your left elbow to the outside of your right knee, inhale here to get length to your spine again. With your next exhale, press your hands firmly together and let that strength translate down to your left elbow, the pressure of the elbow against the knee can help you to get more rotation. Your torso is rotating in the direction that your hands meet the middle of your chest although try not to overdo it, you don’t want to hurt your back!
If having your hands like this is sore on your spine or hips, you might feel better with your left hand landed underneath your left shoulder and your right hand either on your right hip or lifted in the air above. This is a softer twist and so less demanding on the hips and spine.
Look to keep your hips parallel to the floor and in line with each other. So the left hip might have dipped here and the right hip might have swung outwards or bunched up to the armpit. Look to lift the left hip and smooth the right hip backwards.
Stay here for 6 calm rounds of breath. Keep awareness on length in the spine and evenness in the hips. When you’re ready to come out of this pose, inhale to lift your torso to upright and step forwards with your left foot back to Tadasana. Then practice on the other side!