Parivrtta Janusirsasana-Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

originally posted January 2011

Parivrtta Janusirsasana

Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose

With Chrisandra Fox

When the bustle of the holidays and the deep dark of winter has left you feeling lethargic, rejuvenate with a twist. Renew your practice in the New Year with Parivrtta Janusirsasana.

This pose helps relieve back pain by stretching the spine, shoulders, hips, legs, groins and abdomen. A powerful rejuvenator, the revolved version of Janusirsasana stimulates the liver and kidneys, strengthens digestion, renews your energy and can refresh your entire mood.

The Practice

Sit in Dandasana, with both legs extended. Bend your left knee, place your heel close to your left buttock and lower your outer left thigh to the floor. Draw your left heel to the inside of your left thigh, close to the groin and take your left knee back to widen the angle between your legs.

On your exhalation, turn your belly to the left. Inhale fully, then exhale, lean off your left thigh and take your torso toward your extended right leg. Place your thumb at the base of your big toe and wrap your fingers around the inner side of your right foot, or grasp the base of your big toe with your index and middle finger.

On an inhalation, lift your left arm up and move it alongside your ear. Extend long through your fingers, finding a stretch along the left side of your body. If you can, take hold of the outer edge of your right foot with your fingers to bind the pose. Then, bend your elbows and widen them apart. Press your right elbow or shoulder strongly into your inner right thigh or knee. Use that support to turn your belly and heart up.

Steady your weight through both sitting bones. Reach through the sole of your right foot and ground your left thigh and knee as you find that stretch along the left side of your body all the way into your ribcage. With your inhalations, draw energy up from your pelvic floor to your heart center. As you exhale, deepen into the twist and energetically draw your navel up toward your heart. The breath will naturally become shortened as the abdomen is contracted. Slow down your breath. Imagine moving your breath into the dark, tired and contracted areas of your body, making space inside for a sense of light, spaciousness and renewal.

Slowly unwind your torso so that your front spine is facing your right leg. Inhale slowly and sit up. Extend your left leg, and repeat the pose on the second side.

Come to sit in the center of your awareness, observing the quality of your breath, your energy and your mind. After the strong actions of Parivrtta Janusirsasana, take a few moments to sit quietly and listen to the pulsations of your body, the beating of your heart and the rhythm of your breath. Sit in the deep quiet of your invigorated body, awake and aware.

Lie back and rest in Savasana, relaxing all your efforts and sealing in the jewel of renewal.

Chrisandra Fox teaches weekly classes at Yoga Tree SF, Yoga Garden and leads The Heart of Renewal Retreats. Email

Photography by


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