A great source for Yoga Postures by Mark Giubarelli.
Parivrttta Janu Sirsasana
Translation: Revolved Knee to the Head
From a seated position extend one leg diagonally out. Stretch sideways and down towards the extended leg remaining sideways with the upper body.
Extend the arm out sideways over the top of the head to stretch the side of the body. Try to lengthen the arm away from the body to stop any pressure within the shoulder joint and increase the stretch within the shoulder.. Make sure the palm are evenly balanced on the mat.
If you are flexible grab the foot. Rotate the body opening the chest upwards.
The pictures demonstrate versions of this pose where the upper body is sideways in line with the leg. In the first pictures the shoulders are vertically in line. In the second picture the foot is held and there is an even bigger rotation with the upper body. Many factors may influence the amount of rotation that is applied to the body. This pose can also be done lightly. The shoulder and upper body can be slightly turned inward. This will cause the stretch to occur on the side of the lower back more than the side of the body. It feels quite different and very beneficial.
This yoga posture not only provides a side stretch but also a hamstrings stretch. It is a great stretch for the Latissimus Dorsi as well as many of the deeper shoulder muscles. The external oblique muscles (muscles in the sides or the body and abdomin) are partially responsible for the lateral flexion of the body. Many of the lower back muscles are also responsible.
The Trapezius muscles are well stretched during this exercise. See more about yoga poses and back muscles .
Tips If a back injury is present and a disc is swollen or injured it may not be a good idea to over rotate in the lateral flexion. Practice yoga at home with a printable Home yoga flow showing this pose blended with other yoga poses.
Vinyasa Yoga postures to transition from and to:
Baddha Konasana Upavistha Konasana Parivrtta Upavistha Konasana Parsva Upavistha Konasana Akarna Dhanurasana Paschimottasana Janu Sirsasana Eka Pada Upavistha Parivrttasana Janu Sirsasana II Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana II Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana III Hanumanasana Parivrrta Janu Sirsasana IV Salamba Kapotasana Koundinyasana 2 Astavakrasana
Yoga Teacher Tips
This is a great posture to do during a yoga sequence and blends well with many postures. Do this posture long enough to open up the muscles along the side of the body. Holding too long may not be good in this posture so feel the bodies response and come out of the pose when the benefits of the stretch have been felt. You can always enter it a number of times to balance the spine and open the muscles in the side of the body.