The term ‘Parivrtta’ in Sanskrit refers to a revolved or twisted variation on a classical pose. A slightly advanced asana, the Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is a twist on the standing side-stretch. Among its many benefits, practicing this asana helps strengthen and stretch the legs, knees and ankles making it an excellent pose for runners.
Given that it takes a while to master, Parivrtta Parsvakonasana should be approached with plenty of time and patience in hand. If you’re new to yoga completely, do not attempt this on your own; take a few weeks and adapt your body with a few simple stretches first.
Start by going into downward dog pose. Now, bring your left foot forward to the inside your left hand. Your toes should be in line with your fingers. Slowly bend your left knee so that your calf and thigh are at a right angle, and the thigh is parallel to the floor.
Revolve on the ball of your right foot to drop your right heel down to the floor. Flatten the right hand to the floor under your right shoulder.
Draw your bellybutton toward your spine as you twist your torso toward your left knee, opening the chest and stacking the right shoulder on top of the left. Lift your left arm up toward the ceiling. Look straight to the left hand.
Stay in this position through three to five deep breaths. Step back to downward dog and then repeat the pose with the right foot forward this time.
Here’s a way you can make it a little easier the first few times. If the right hand doesn’t comfortably reach the floor, use a block under it. You can also stay on your finger tips instead of bringing your right hand flat. Beginners can also improve their balance and support the heel, either by placing it on a sandbag or thick book, or by bracing it against a wall. Advanced students should try and keep the back heel on the floor as much as possible.
Runners who perform the Parivrtta Parsvakonasana successfully will soon note the effect it has on their calves and knees — the pose strengthens and stretches your lower limbs, adding to their flexibility and your overall sense of balance. Apart from that, it also increases circulation to abdominal organs and the spinal column, opens up the hips and hip flexors, and aids in digestion. The twisting movement stretches the groins, spine, chest and lungs, and shoulders, and the controlled breathing helps increase endurance and neutralizes stress.