02/20/2015 02:34 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Twist Into Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

By Yoga Journal

Find length in the sides of your body and a deeper twist as you move step by step into Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana.

Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana is an invigorating spinal twist and chest opener that releases diaphragmatic tension and intercostal muscles, enhancing breathing. It also removes tension along the spine and lengthens the sides of the waist, stretching the abdominal organs, especially the ascending and descending colon, liver, spleen, and pancreas, enhancing digestion and elimination.

Stay Safe in Supta Padangusthasana

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana makes the hamstrings vulnerable, especially near the sitting bones where the muscles attach. To be safe, contract the quadriceps very powerfully, sending a message to the hamstrings to stop contracting. Pulling the body down in any forward bend when the hamstrings have not released enough to free the spine may damage the lower vertebrae. Take time warming up in Supta Padangusthasana. Move slowly into and out of all of these poses. And remember to stay humble: Remove the striving for accomplishment and instead go for the experience of whatever you can do in the moment.

Janu Sirasana, variation

Head-to-Knee Forward Bend, variation

Sit in Janu Sirsasana with your left knee bent. Turn your chest toward the bent knee, fingertips on the floor, right hand in front between your legs and your left hand behind your left buttock. On an inhalation, press your fingertips into the floor and lift the bottom of your belly and the sides of your waist. Exhaling, twist left.

Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana, variation

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose, variation

Inhaling, lift your left arm up, alongside your left ear. Bend your right leg, then bend your torso sideways to the right and hold the outside of your right foot with your left hand. Slowly walk your right hand away from your pelvis, in between your legs, until the back of your right rib cage, or the back of the right back, is on the inside of your inner right thigh. Press your inner thigh into your rib cage.

Continue the preparation for Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana by practicing the full sequence.