How to Do Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold in Yoga
Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold is a calming yoga twist that stretches the whole body. It helps to detoxify the digestive organs, while also soothing the mind and improving full-body coordination. It is a rotated variation of the pose, Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana).
The Sanskrit name for this pose, "Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana" (PAHR-ee-VREE-tah prah-suh-REE-tuh pah-doh-tahn-AHS-uh-nuh), comes from six words:
- “Parivrtta” — meaning “revolved”
- "Prasarita" — meaning "spread" or "expanded"
- "Pada" — meaning "foot" or "leg"
- "Ut" — meaning "intense"
- "Tan" — meaning "to stretch"
- "Asana" — meaning "pose"
This literally translates to "Revolved Feet Spread Intense Stretch Pose." However, many modern yoga teachers refer to it simply as "Prasarita Twist." It is also sometimes called "Straddle Fold Twist," "Revolved Straddle Fold," or "Revolved Prasarita." Because of its soothing nature, this pose is commonly sequenced at the end of standing poses in a yoga class. It is also a good preparatory pose for seated twists.
Benefits of Revolved Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold
Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana has all of the benefits of Prasarita Padottanasana, including:
- Stretched hamstrings, calves, hips, low back, and spine
- Stretched and strengthened upper back and shoulders
- A calmer mind
- Relief from stress, anxiety, and mild depression
- Opened hips
- Relief from neck and shoulder tension
In addition, twisting through the torso keeps the spine healthy by rotating the spinal joints and their surrounding muscles. This improves spinal flexibility and nourishes the spinal discs by helping them remain moist. Twisting the torso also massages the organs of the abdomen, including the liver, kidneys, and spleen. This cleanses and tones the organs, improving their ability to release toxins. It also helps to improve and regulate digestion and metabolism.
Yoga, as we know, is transformational; it’s life changing. But what I think I really love about yoga is it does that in very, very subtle ways.
Do not practice this pose if you are currently experiencing low blood pressure, migraines, or vertigo. Also avoid this pose if you have a herniated disc or sciatica. Those with neck injuries should not turn their heads to face the top hand (in step 6 of the Instructions, below), but should continue looking down or only halfway up. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
- Begin standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Place your hands on your hips. Turn to the left and step your feet wide apart. Turn your toes slightly in and your heels slightly out, so the edges of your feet are parallel to the edges of your mat. Align your heels.
- Inhale and lengthen your torso, reaching the crown of your head up toward the ceiling. Exhaling, fold forward at the hips. Keep the front of your torso long. Drop your head and gaze softly behind you.
- Bring your hands to rest on the floor between your legs. Keep your elbows bent and pointed behind you. If your hands do not come to the floor, rest them on yoga blocks. This is Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana).
- Bring your left hand to the floor between your feet, directly under your chest. Bring your right hand to your right hip. Keep your spine and the front of your torso long.
- With an exhalation, straighten your right arm and reach toward the ceiling. Your arm should be vertical and your fingertips should point to the ceiling. Keep your hips as level as possible, twisting through the torso instead of the hips.
- Turn your head to gaze up at your right thumb.
- To release, slowly unwind and return both hands to the floor. Then, bring your right hand to the center and repeat the twist to the left for the same amount of time. Return to center. Then, bring your hands to your hips. On an inhalation, slowly return to standing with a flat back.
Modifications & Variations
Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana is a calming stretch that releases shoulder and spinal tension when practiced correctly. Be sure to take it slowly and never force the pose. Try these changes to find a variation of the pose that works for you:
- If your hands don't easily reach the floor when you fold forward, place each hand on a yoga block. Move one of the blocks to the center between your feet for the twist.
- If your head easily touches the floor when you fold forward, narrow your stance.
- If your hamstrings are very tight, bend your knees.
- To deepen the pose, more flexible students can clasp the outer ankle of the opposite leg with their bottom hand. Bend the top elbow, and bring the top hand around to rest on the thigh of the opposite leg. For example, if your right arm is raised and left hand is on the floor, hold your right ankle with your left hand and hold your left thigh with your right hand. This extra pressure will help the torso rotate even deeper.
Practicing Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana can lengthen and stretch out the whole body, while soothing your mind and improving your digestion. Keep the following information in mind when practicing this pose:
- Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana) provides the foundation for this pose, so it's important to learn the correct alignment for Prasarita Padottanasana before moving into the revolved variation. Thoroughly review the iSport guide, How to Do Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold in Yoga, before practicing this pose.
- If your shoulders feel constricted when you reach for the ceiling, place your top hand on your hip.
- If your neck hurts when you turn your head, keep your gaze downward. You can also look halfway up if doing so is not painful.
- Keep your pelvis neutral and turn your trunk instead. Think of your hips as the anchor of this pose.
- Press your bottom hand into the floor, using the rebound from that pressure to deepen the twist.
- Strongly engage your leg muscles.
- Do not lock your knees.
- Lift and spread your sit bones.
- Keep the front of your torso long, rather than emphasizing bringing your head and hands all the way down. Bend your knees, or place your hands on blocks, to keep this length as you fold forward.
- Fold forward from your hips, not your waist. To learn this movement, place and press your hands directly on your front hip bones. Then hinge forward from that spot. Keep your torso long.
- Come up from the pose with a flat back. This will help strengthen the back muscles.
- Aim for aligning your ankles, knees, and hips. It’s common to lean back, placing too much weight on the heels.
- Never force the twist! Only turn as far as it feels healthy and comfortable; then, gently deepen the pose from there.
- Keep your face and your gaze soft.
Extend & Twist
Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana can be a great way to keep your legs and spine flexible while calming your mind and detoxifying your digestive organs. Practicing this pose regularly will help bring your body, mind, and spirit into balance, creating poise and ease in your everyday life.