Revolved side angle is a standing balance and twisting pose in yoga. It can be done in either a high lunge or a warrior one. Either way, the back leg must be lifted off of the mat for it to be a revolved side angle. This is what makes it a balancing pose as well.
Revolved side angle is seen as one of the gentler poses found in yoga. It’s mostly used as a transition pose and is never held for too long. The pose is also known to be called a twisted side angle or a side angle twist depending on who is teaching the twist.
The basics of revolved side angle pose
Revolved side angle pose is otherwise known as Parivrtta Parsvakonasana in Sanskrit. The Parivrtta is always used for twisted poses because it means revolved. Like all twists, this one targets the side body. Along with that, it targets the thighs, ankles, chest, shoulders whilst challenging your balance.
There are a lot of elements to revolved side angle pose but most of them are doable and not many people struggle to do them. This pose can be added into any yoga flow and isn’t a peak pose of any kind. This makes it a beginner friendly and beginner level pose. However, it can still be a challenging pose when it’s held for long periods of time.
The benefits of practicing revolved side angle
When doing revolved side angle, a lovely stretch will be felt in the side body. Along with that, the chest area will open up and the shoulders will also be stretched. It twists the upper body, which can be really good for back pain and general spinal health.
Revolved side angle also contains the same benefits of warrior 1 pose and high lunge. Therefore, the pose strengthens areas like the legs, groin, spine, shoulders, and chest. It’s also been known to improve flexibility, which makes it a useful pose for those trying to improve their flexibility. Revolved side angle is a gentle pose as well, meaning it also relieves stress and anxiety.
How to do revolved side angle pose
Step by step instructions for getting into the pose
- Begin in a downward facing dog with feet hip-width distance apart and hands shoulder-width distance apart. Make sure to push into the hands so that you’re not dumping any weight into your shoulders.
- Reach the right leg up first and place your foot in-between the palms with the toes facing forward. Come onto the ball of your back foot (the left foot) and squeeze the legs in towards another as you lift your torso up and raise your arms above your head.
- If the back foot feels uncomfortable, and already balancing is difficult here, an option to place the left foot flat on the ground with the toes pointing to the left corner of the mat for a warrior 1 is available.
- Bring the hands to the heart centre in prayer whilst keeping a straight spine by engaging the core.
- Begin to lean the torso forward and twist to the right side so that the left elbow hooks onto the right side of the right knee. Lean your chest back so that you’re not facing towards the floor. If it’s okay for the neck, look up to the ceiling.
- An option to stay here or go further by releasing the left hand to the floor and reaching the right arm up towards the sky.
- Hold here for 5-10 breaths remembering to breathe deeply before gently releasing from the pose and going back to a downward facing dog. Do the same steps for the left side.
Common mistakes made when doing the pose
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when doing a revolved side angle is that they twist too deep and end up hurting their back. There is no need to go super deep into the pose. No matter how deep the twist is, the same benefits will be felt. Rather begin in a more gentle twist first because there is no point in forcing a deeper twist.
Another thing people do is forget to lean their chest back to open it up. They instead roll their top shoulder forward, which rounds the back. The chest needs to stay open and lengthened.
For those who are trying revolved side angle for the first time, it would be recommended to stick to the hands in prayer version. This variation of the pose is not as deep and allows a person to work their way into the full expression of the pose.
Another tip is to ensure that the elbow is properly hooked onto the knee so that it doesn’t slip. The better the hook is then the easier the balancing will be as well. Begin doing it in a warrior 1 to also help the balance and slowly work your way into a twisted high lunge version.
If someone has been injured in their legs, spine, chest, ankles, or shoulders then they should not be doing this pose. If anyone is feeling any sort of pain in these areas, then they should also avoid this pose and try something gentler. Always listen to your body and never push past pain. Back off if any pain is felt. Consult a doctor or physician before trying out a pose or any physical exercise.
To make revolved side angle easier, it can be done in a warrior 1 version. This makes it easier to balance and puts less strain on the front leg. Doing the variation of the twist where the hands stay at the heart is also an easier option. This version is not as deep as when the hand is on the floor and the top hand is reaching up. To make the pose harder, the full variation in a high lunge and holding it for a long time would be more challenging.References: