Crazy posture! That’s what Guruji (Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the father of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga) called parivrtta parsvakonasana.
He had put parivrtta parsvakonasana into the Ashtanga standing poses in the late 80s because his Maui students loved it.
So why DID Guruji call parivrtta parsvakonasana “crazy pose”?
I’m guessing here, but this is a pose that challenges you on multiple levels: strength, flexibility, balance, focus and it even your ability to breathe deeply and smoothly. It’s a humdinger!
When we see an especially dynamic asana like this one, OF COURSE we want to try it. It’s human nature.
And if you approach it with some sensibility, humility and maybe a touch of levity, it’s entirely do-able.
As with most asanas, it’s best to take parivrtta parsvakonasana in steps, and then layer on the more challenging aspects gradually. This may not please your ego, but it surely will please your body and spirit.
The ability to hold a challenging position on the mat with a level of ease, comfort and quality breathing builds your ability to take that skill off the mat and into your daily life. It’s the true test of a yogi living in the world.
Parivrtta parsvakonasana is not only a strong standing pose, but also a deep twist. This photo from back in our 2006 photo archives of our fourth yoga teacher training, shows the version with which Ashtangis are most familiar. It’s a bit deeper than our version in today’s tip sheet.
You can see that it adds another layer to the asana by swiveling the back heel down to the floor.
By approaching this asana with a sense of discovery and lightness, you can begin with a modified version and start feeling the benefits immediately.
(For an added boost in your parivrtta parsvakonasana, read up on uddiyana bandha here. It can really help!)
Below are some additional details of this pose…as usual, download this tip sheet at the bottom of this post.
- parivrtta = revolved
- parsva = side
- kona = angle
- asana = seat
- Strengthens and opens hips
- Improves breathing capacity
- Strengthens focus and improves balance
- Builds strength in legs
- Wrings tension out of the spine and flushes toxins from of abdominal organs
- Stimulates blood flow to abdominal organs
- Activates all the chakras
- Hip injury
- Pregnancy or blood pressure issues.
- Lower back knee to floor and place forearm on front knee.
- Work up to this pose with virabhadrasana I and utthita parsvakonasana.
- Deeper version: drop back heel to floor (foot at sharp forward angle); bottom hand on floor outside front foot; top arm reaches straight up or extends overhead.
- Regal strength
Conclusion: Parivrtta parsvakonasana
It’s easy to overdo any asana and little benefit is gained. Take the time to develop and deepen this wonderful asana and along the way you’re sure to find some hidden gems.
I suggest using this asana to hone presence and self-awareness, not to achieve the “full pose.”
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