How to Do Revolved Abdomen Pose in Yoga
Revolved Abdomen Pose is a supine (lying-down) yoga posture that stretches the spine and hips as it tones the belly. Twists help to decompress the spine and detoxify the body. At the end of the day, or after a stressful situation, twisting your spine can help you "squeeze out" any leftover emotional fatigue and restore balance to your body and mind.
The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Jathara Parivartanasana" (jah-TAHR-uh PAHR-ee-vahr-tah-NAHS-uh-nuh), comes from three words:
- "Jathara" — meaning "abdomen" or "belly"
- "Parivarta," from "Parivrtta" — meaning "revolved"
- "Asana" — meaning "pose"
This pose goes by various English names, including "Belly-Revolving Pose," "Reclined Straight-Leg Twist," and others. But no matter what your teacher may call it, you'll gain all of the benefits by practicing this twisting pose!
Benefits of Revolved Abdomen Pose
Revolved Abdomen Pose strengthens the spine, back, and all of the abdominal muscles, particularly the obliques. It increases flexibility and reduces stiffness in the spine, lower back, hips, chest, and shoulders. Stretching and twisting the spine not only hydrates the spinal discs, but it also lengthens, relaxes, and realigns the spine. This pose is considered therapeutic for stress, fatigue, and anxiety.
Twisting the spine has many benefits. When the torso is revolved, the organs of digestion and elimination (including the liver, kidneys, and spleen) are compressed. This compression helps these organs release toxins and metabolic waste. When the twist is released, these organs receive a fresh flow of oxygenated blood, which helps them to continue flushing out the toxins. Twists improve the overall health and function of your digestive system.
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Those with back pain, back injuries, or degenerative disk disease should approach this pose with caution. They should only attempt to practice it under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable instructor. Also avoid practicing this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to your knees or hips. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket for extra neck support. Let your arms relax at your sides.
- On an exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. This is Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
- Extend your arms out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palms facing down. Straighten your legs, reaching your heels up toward the ceiling. Align your heels directly over your hips. Keep your knees soft and slightly bent.
- Draw your low back down, so it is flat on the floor. On an exhalation, lower your legs to the left, twisting your spine and allowing your right hip to lift all the way off the floor. Allow the force of gravity to drop your legs all the way down. Allow your left foot to rest on the floor.
- Flex your feet and stack the outer edge of your right ankle on top of your left.
- Work toward bringing your torso and legs into a 90-degree angle, or slightly less. If your legs are angled up toward your left shoulder, you can clasp your left foot’s toes with your right hand’s fingers.
- Turn your head to the right. Soften your gaze toward your right hand’s fingertips. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down toward the floor and away from your ears.
- Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. On an inhalation, slowly come back to center, raising your feet straight up to the ceiling. Bend your knees and hug them to your chest in Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
- On an exhalation, reach your heels up to the ceiling again. Repeat steps 3-7 on the opposite side.
- When you’re finished with the pose, hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths in Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana). Then slowly exhale as you extend both legs along the floor.
Modifications & Variations
Revolved Abdomen Pose will strengthen your abdomen and stretch your spine. Be sure to make whatever adjustments you need to feel fully supported in the pose. Try these simple changes to find a variation that works best for you:
- For a more gentle variation, keep both knees bent throughout the twist.
- If your knees rub together, place a folded blanket between your legs.
- If your bottom foot does not touch the floor, you can rest your feet and legs on a bolster, block, or folded blanket.
- For a greater challenge, don't bring your bottom foot all the way to the floor. Instead, let your feet hover an inch or two above the ground.
Practicing Revolved Abdomen Pose can be calming and soothing, particularly at the end of the day. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- For those with back injuries, be sure to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced instructor before attempting this pose.
- Bring your legs or knees over only as much as comfort will allow. If needed, rest your legs on a bolster or pillow to decrease the range of motion.
- Focus on keeping your shoulders on the floor. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
- Keep your breath smooth and deep. Do not hold your breath.
- Relax your abdominal muscles and let your belly feel hollow.
- Never force your knees to the floor. Be gentle with yourself!
- Be aware of how your back feels during the pose. If you feel any sharp, pinching, or jarring pain, stop the pose and come out of it slowly, but immediately. Never force the twist if you are in pain.
Revolve to Release
Practicing Revolved Abdomen Pose is a great way to lengthen and realign your spine while building abdominal strength. Adding this pose to your daily routine will help your body and mind release tension and toxins, allowing you to feel rebalanced and refreshed throughout your day.