Hero Twist Pose - Parivrtta Virasana

Parivrtta Virasana
(Hero Twist Pose)

(ARE-dah)
ardha = half 
(veer-AHS-anna)
vira = man, hero, chief

This yoga pose adds a twist to the meditative Hero! Twisting activates the sides of the body for a rejuvenating affect and stress-relief for the muscles that assist in breathing. The spine is elongated before twisting to ensure safety of the spine in this yoga exercise.


 

Benefits


Stimulates the liver and kidneys

Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck

Energizes the spine, awakens Kundalini

Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly

Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache 

Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles

Strengthens the arches

Improves digestion and relieves gas

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause

Gently opens the hips

Tones Abdominal muscles and core

Contraindications/Cautions


Back or spine injury

Knee or ankle injury

Heart problems

Performing the Asana


Kneel on the floor (on a folded blanket to pad your knees, shins, and feet if necessary), with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Angle your big toes slightly in toward each other and press the top of each foot evenly on the floor.

Exhale and sit back halfway, with your torso leaning slightly forward. Wedge your thumbs into the backs of your knees and draw the skin and flesh of the calf muscles toward the heels. Then sit down between your feet.

If your buttocks don't comfortably rest on the floor, raise them on a block or thick book placed between the feet. Make sure both sitting bones are evenly supported. Allow a thumb's-width space between the inner heels and the outer hips. Turn your thighs inward and press the heads of the thigh bones into the floor with the bases of your palms. Then lay your hands in your lap, one on the other, palms up, or on your thighs, palms down.

Firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs and lift the top of your sternum like a proud warrior. Widen the collarbones and release the shoulder blades away from the ears. Lengthen the tail bone into the floor to anchor the back torso.

With an exhalation, gently twist to the left, placing the left palm near to the toes and right palm to the outside of the left thigh for leverage. Continue to lengthen with the inhalations and deepen the yoga pose through the exhalations.

Exhale to release back to center. Practice on both sides for balance. Hero Twist Pose should be held between 1 to 3 breaths.

Anatomical Focus


Hips / Thighs

Spine (Lumbar)

Quadriceps

Lungs

Digestive Organs

Therapeutic Applications


Digestion

Liver / Kidneys

Sciatica

Modify Your Practice


If your ankles are painful in this pose, roll up a towel and place it underneath them before you sit back.

Variations


As you twist to the left, your left arm may wrap behind the hips for a deeper stretch through the chest and shoulders. The back of the palm will rest on the opposite hip or lower back.

Complimentary Yoga Poses


Balasana - Child's Pose
Baddha Konasana - Bound Angle Posture
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward-Facing Dog

Partner Practice


A partner can help you learn to lengthen the spine in this pose. They can kneel behind your back, placing one palm to the center of the back and the other at the base of the neck to ensure elongation into the twist to the left. On the exhalations, your partner will place the left hand to the front of your left shoulder and to the rear of the right shoulder to lead the twist. Pressure should not be applied, just a guiding hand.