Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana

(Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose)

Visvamitrasana demands that your side body be supple while the rest ofyourbody is firing, stabilizing, and lifting against gravity To make things even more interesting, the pose throws in a hefty bit of hamstring and inner-thigh intensity. Fortunately, Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana delves into these exact regions, but with less intensity, so you can spend more time learning the actions that will help you in the final pose.

To begin, sit in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose). Place your fingertips on the floor behind you as you lengthen the sides of your torso. Pause for a moment—retaining the receptive calm ofViparita Karani—and breathe into your lower abdomen. Straighten your right leg to the side about 60 degrees from your pelvis. Glide your left heel deep into your left groin. If this creates discomfort in your knee, you can place your left foot against your right thigh instead.

Now, slide your right hand down your leg to your right ankle. Pull the skin of your ankle toward you and use this leverage to elongate the right side of your ribs toward your right thigh. From there, drop your right forearm to the floor—just inside the shin—and hook your index and middle fingers under your Achilles tendon. Reach your left arm overhead and catch the outer edge of your right foot.

Refore deepening specific actions within the pose, simply use your awareness to scan your entire body to become oriented. Although the sensations in your extended leg and top ribs will tend to dominate your attention, cut through these layers and notice your jaw, your back thigh, your bottom ribs, and the contact of your top hand and right foot. Try to experience your whole body in the pose. Re aware of all of the subtle layers of sensation as you continue to take slow, calming breaths.

Now start to shift your attention toward refining the intricacies of the pose. In Visvamitrasana, the torso tends to dcrotatc so that the chest faces the floor. To counteract this tendency, root down through your right thighbone and push your right inner heel farther away from your body. Create a slight pulling action with your right index and middle fingers against your Achilles tendon, and elongate your torso until you arc at your maximum stretch without strain. If you are particularly open, your side body will drape over your leg.

Lean back slightly as though you're going to fall behind yourstraight leg. Continue to explore the pose as you roll your abdomen, ribs, and chest open. Practice turning from the inside out, encouraging your abdominal organs, kidneys, heart, and lungs to spiral toward the ceiling. Rreathe slowly and deeply into any resistance that presents itself. Try to relax any impulse you may have to push your body beyond a comfortable edge.

To complete the pose—and to practice one more element of Visvamitrasana— bend your top elbow toward the ceiling as if you were going to pick your right foot off the floor. If you're already at your maximum stretch, the elbow won't actually move, and that's OK. Gravity will be pressing you down in Visvamitrasana, so uiuml m rccc^)))))

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