Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is an advanced, seated yoga posture. This variation, Revolved Lotus Pose, includes a twist, which helps to detoxify the abdominal organs, calm the mind, and prepare the practitioner for deeper yoga postures and meditation. The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Parivrtta Padmasana" (PAH-ruh-VREE-tah pahd-MAHS-uh-nuh), comes from three words:
- “Parivrtta" — meaning “revolved”
- "Padma" — meaning "lotus"
- “Asana” — meaning “pose”
It also goes by various English names, including "Lotus Pose Twist," "Twisting Lotus Pose," and other similar variations. Only the students who can already sit comfortably in full Lotus Pose for several minutes should practice this pose.
Benefits of Revolved Lotus Pose
Parivrtta Padmasana stretches the knees, ankles, and hips. It strengthens the upper back, and increases flexibility throughout the spine, shoulders, and chest. Twisting the torso stimulates the abdominal organs, including the kidneys, liver, and spleen, which helps with detoxification and elimination. Ridding your body of toxins will help improve your overall health and well-being. It will also boost your energy, and relieve fatigue and anxiety.
The asanas have no function of their own. It is only how they serve the practitioner [that matters].
Sitting upright with your spine aligned calms your mind and prepares your brain and body for seated meditation. Ancient yoga texts claim that Lotus Pose, called "destroyer of all diseases," will also awaken “Kundalini,” a universal energy that lies dormant at the base of your spine. Traditional yogis believe that awakening this energy will bring about self-realization.
Avoid practicing this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to the knees, ankles, or hips. Only perform this variation if you can sit comfortably in full Lotus Pose. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended, spine straight, and arms resting at your sides. This is Seated Staff Pose (Dandasana).
- Bend your left knee and hug it to your chest. Then bring your left ankle to the crease of your right hip, so the sole of your foot faces the sky. The top of your foot should rest on your hip crease.
- Then bend your right knee. Cross your right ankle over the top of your left shin. The sole of your right foot should also face upwards, and the top of your foot and ankle should rest on your hip crease.
- Draw your knees as close together as possible. Press your groins toward the floor and sit up straight. This is Lotus Pose (Padmasana).
- Balance your weight evenly across your sit bones. Align your head, neck, and spine. Lengthen your spine, but soften your neck. Relax your feet and thighs.
- Place your right hand on the floor behind you. Bring your left hand to the outside of your right knee. Exhale and gently twist to the right, and then inhale as you lengthen your spine. Exhale again as you twist even deeper. Gaze over your right shoulder. Do not push hard against your knee to force a deeper twist.
- Keep your collarbones broad. Do not round your shoulders; sit up straight. Do not lean your torso forward in order to obtain a deeper twist. Instead, twist only as far as you can go while keeping your head aligned directly over your tailbone.
- Hold for up to 10 breaths. Exhale as you come back to center.
- Release the pose by very slowly and gently extending both legs along the floor in Staff Pose. Repeat the pose for the same amount of time with the opposite leg on top. Come back to center, release your legs, and then come back into Staff Pose.
Modifications & Variations
Parivrtta Padmasana can bring greater flexibility to your entire body, including your hips and spine. Be sure to take it slowly and make whatever modifications you need to feel safe, supported, and steady in the pose. Here are a few suggestions:
- If your knees don't rest on the floor, support each knee with a folded, firm blanket.
- If you are not yet able to perform Lotus Pose, practice Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana) until you have gained the flexibility and strength to sit comfortably in the pose. If Half Lotus is too difficult, try Easy Pose (Sukhasana) first.
- For a deeper stretch, those with more flexibility can come into Bound Revolved Lotus Pose (Baddha Parivrtta Padmasana): From the full expression of Revolved Lotus Pose, reach the arm that is behind you all the way around your back. Hold onto your opposite-side toes with your fingers. To deepen the stretch even further, fold forward. Repeat the pose on the opposite side for the same amount of time.
Revolved Lotus Pose will add variety and detoxifying benefits to your regular yoga practice. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Since Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is the foundation for this variation, it's important to understand its correct alignment. Thoroughly review the information in the iSport guide, How to Do Lotus Pose in Yoga, before trying this variation! Also, if you are learning Lotus Pose, do not attempt learning it on your own. It's best to learn the pose from a qualified and knowledgeable instructor who can provide you with guidance on the alignment before practicing it alone.
- Beginners and those with less flexibility should attempt Half Lotus (Ardha Padmasana) before trying the full version of the pose.
- Make sure you change the cross of your legs and twist for the same amount of time in both directions.
- Keep your spine vertical throughout the pose. The crown of your head should maintain its alignment directly over your tailbone.
Revolve to Blossom
Parivrtta Padmasana can be an easy way to add variety to your practice, while also reducing tension and cleansing your internal organs. It can feel good to stretch out the stresses of the day! Practicing this pose will help you re-gain balance at the end of a long practice. It can help you gain equanimity in mind, body, and spirit even off the mat.