5 Steps to Master Revolved Chair Pose
Strengthen and ground your legs and hips, bring length and lightness to your spine and expand your chest in revolved chair pose.
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NEXT STEP IN YOGAPEDIA3 Ways to Modify Revolved Powerful Pose, a.k.a Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
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parivrtta = revolved · utka = powerful · asana = pose
Revolved Powerful Pose, a.k.a. Revolved Chair Pose
Strengthens and grounds your legs and hips, brings length and lightness to your spine, expands your chest.
1. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Inhale to lift your arms overhead, alongside your ears. Exhale to shift your weight into your heels and bend your knees, shifting your hips back and down into Utkatasana. Try to stack your knees over your ankles, rather than over your toes. Pull your thighs back (think of sucking the thighbones back into their sockets) to anchor the pelvis down, which will eventually allow you to twist deeper.
2. Exhale to bring your hands into Anjali Mudra in front of your heart. Inhale to reach up through the crown of your head. Pull your thighs farther back and down to lengthen your spine. On an exhalation, hook your left elbow outside your right thigh as low as you can get it, and press your palms together. Pull your palms down toward your navel, and push your top hand down a bit more to widen your top collarbone and revolve your chest to a greater degree.
3. Keep your weight in your heels, especially your left heel. Draw your left thighbone back to keep your hips and knees even. Then gently roll your belly, chest, neck, and head even more to the right, twisting deeper.
4. Open your arms wide into a straight line, pressing your left arm against your right thigh, leveraging your twist a bit deeper. Press your left hand down into your mat outside your right foot, and reach your right arm upward.
5. Balance the work of grounding back and down in your legs, anchoring your heels, while you lengthen your spine, twist, and open your chest. Spread your arms even more, like bird wings banking on an updraft. Hold for 5 breaths then exhale and unwind. Switch sides.
See also Find Freedom in the Noose
Avoid These Mistakes
Don’t let your knees move in front of your toes, to protect your knee joints. Keep pressing your shin bones back and weighting your heels, to keep your knees pressure free.
Don’t let one knee slide in front of the other. Learn to stabilize your pelvis and lower back with the symmetry, allowing for a deeper and pain-free twist.
Practice Tip: Root to Rise
In yoga, we work with our physical bodies in order to understand and balance the internal layers of ourselves, including the breath and the mind. The practice can also help us perceive whether our energy is balanced between outward and grounding energy (apana vayu) and inward and upward-moving energy (prana vayu). Parivrtta Utkatasana and Pasasana demand that we simultaneously ground down for stability and focus inward to create length and lightness, or space for twisting. We learn to root to rise, and balance these opposing energies to achieve a feeling of equanimity and ease.
See alsoChair Pose: Adjust Utkatasana for Better Alignment
Teacher Annie Carpenter is the creator of SmartFLOW Yoga, a marriage of mindful movement with compassionate, wakeful alignment. California based, she teaches globally and is the author of RelaxDEEPLY, a CD of restorative yoga, and Yoga for Total Back Care, a DVD produced by Yoga Journal. Learn more at anniecarpenter.com. Model Tiffany Russo is an LA–based SmartFLOW yoga teacher and trainer, and has assisted Carpenter with teacher trainings since 2010. You can find her teaching schedule at tiffanyrussoyoga.com.