Poses by Type

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose, or Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana in Sanskrit, is a twisting variation of Janu Sirsasana that takes the classic forward bend to the next level of release. This pose gifts a deep, vivid stretch to the side body paired with loving and heart-opening movement.


How to say Parivritta Janu Sirsasana in Sanskirt

parivrtta = revolved
janu = knee
sirsa = head

Revolved Side Angle Pose Step-by-Step Instructions

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  1.  Begin in Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend); make sure to be directly on top of your sitting bones with your legs at about a 120-degree angle and your quadriceps squarely facing the ceiling. 
  2. Bend your right knee, and place your heel at your right groin so that your thighs are symmetrical. 
  3. Inhale; lengthen your spine. 
  4. Exhale; twist your torso to the right. 
  5. Maintaining the rotation of your spine, tilt your torso laterally to the left. 
  6. Place your left shoulder to the inside of your left knee while continuing to revolve your torso up toward the ceiling.
  7. Extend your left hand, palm up, toward your left foot, and clasp your inner foot. 
  8. Reach your right hand to the right, then sweep it past your right ear, palm down. 
  9. Use your right hand to clasp your left outer foot. 
  10. Maintain your left leg as if in Upavistha Konasana, pressing into your left big toe mound and descending your femur. 
  11. Resist your right knee toward the floor to balance the weight of your torso to the left. 
  12. Inhale; lengthen your spine. 
  13. Exhale; twist any amount more to the right, spinning your chest to the ceiling. 
  14. Continue this pattern of breath: inhalations to create space along the torso; exhalations to offer the heart up. 
  15. Hold for anywhere from 10 breaths to 1 minute, then root down with your legs on an exhalation, and inhale to bring your torso up and back to center. 
  16. Repeat on the other side. 

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Revolved Side Angle Pose Cues

Contraindications and Cautions Revolved Side Angle Pose

  • Avoid or modify to a gentler version if you have osteoporosis, disc bulging or herniation (depending on the direction of the herniation, ask your doctor), or other back pain or issues. 
  • Avoid or modify to a gentler version if you have a hamstring tear, groin tear, hip replacement, a hernia, or SI (sacroiliac) dysfunction/pain. 
  • If you have knee pain, try one of the more gentle modifications. 
  • If you have shoulder pain, numbness, tingling or shooting when you lift your arm, try keeping your hand on your hip. 
  • Don’t force your body into the pose; instead, move slowly and mindfully in and out of the pose. 
  • If you have any pain with the pose or other limitations, try pose variations and modifications, or visualize doing the full expression of the pose in any position. Always ask your health care team if you are unsure of what you can and cannot do with your particular health concerns. Also, seek a qualified yoga instructor or yoga therapist to help you individually adapt the pose for safety.

Benefits of Revolved Side Angle Pose

  • Can boost energy and fight fatigue
  • Improves posture and counteracts the effects of sitting and computer work

Extended leg side:

  • Stretches the back of your thigh (hamstrings), groin, inner thigh (adductors), calf muscles, ankle, and foot.

Bent knee side:

  • Mostly stretches your outer hip (abductors) and thigh (quadriceps)

Shortened side of torso:

  • Strengthens your side body, including abdominal obliques and muscles alongside your spine

Lengthened side of the torso:

  • Stretches your side body, including the abdominal obliques
  • Stretches large back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi
  • Stretches the muscles alongside your spine, including the erector spinae

3 Ways to modify Resolved Head to Knee

1. Gentle Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  • Only lean into the far as you can go without rounding your spine and slouching forward
  • This may mean keeping your lower hand to your shin

2. Ropped Revolved Head to Knee pose

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger MuggerChris Dougherty
  • Try elevating your hips by sitting on a block or bolster.
  • To avoid locking (hyperextending) in the knee joint, put a rolled blanket under the extended knee
  • Consider using a step around the sole of your foot or bring your bottom hand to your shin as you clean toward that foot. 

3. Chair Side Stretch

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Photo: Christopher Dougherty; Mat: Jade Yoga; Props: Hugger Mugger
  • Sit in a chair with your feet under your knees at hip distance apart.
  • If you are taller, you may need to sit on folded blankets. If you are shorter, you may need to put folded blankets or blocks under your feet.
  • First, sit as tall as you can.
  • Then, reach one arm up and over to side.
  • Lift your arm as high as comfortable and if it is comfortable for your neck, look up.
  • Take several deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.

Preparatory Poses for Revolved Side Angle Pose

Follow-up Poses after Revolved Side Angle Pose

  • Paschimottanasana
  • Uttanasana
  • Balasana

Sequencing Tip

Practice forward bends and opening up your side body to prepare your body for this shape. 

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