The Warrior-Twist Pose, also known as Parivrtta Virabhadrasana or Twisted Warrior or Twisted Lunge Pose, is a variation of the traditional Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana).
It combines the strength-building and grounding aspects of Warrior Pose with a twist that adds an element of spinal mobility and further stretches the muscles.
|Known as:||Warrior-Twist Pose, Parivrtta Virabhadrasana, Twisted Warrior Pose, Twisted Lunge Pose, Revolved Warrior Pose, Side Angle Pose|
|Sanskrit name:||परिवृत्त वीरभद्रासन|
|Type:||Standing, twist pose|
|Total time:||30 seconds to 1 minute on each side|
|Chakra:||Root Chakra (Muladhara), Sacral Chakra (Svadhisthana), Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura), Heart Chakra (Anahata), Throat Chakra (Vishuddha)|
|Indications:||Quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, hip flexors, psoas muscles, spinal, mobility, flexibility, stiffness, abdominal organs, digestion, detoxification, relaxation, stress|
|Counterposes:||Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana), Supine Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Seated Forward Fold Pose (Paschimottanasana)|
|Preparatory poses:||Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar), Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana), Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana), Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana), Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana)|
|Follow-up poses:||Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana), Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana), Child’s Pose (Balasana), Savasana (Corpse Pose)|
|Contraindications:||Knee or hip injuries, Spinal conditions, High blood pressure, Pregnancy, Recent abdominal or digestive surgeries|
The term “Parivrtta Virabhadrasana” is a Sanskrit name, which is made of three words — Parivrtta + Virabhadra + Asana:
- “Parivrtta” = “twisted” or “revolved”
- “Virabhadra” = “warrior (refers to the mythological warrior mentioned earlier)”
- “Asana” = “pose” or “posture”
So, “Parivrtta Virabhadrasana” translates to “Twisted Warrior Pose” or “Revolved Warrior Pose” in English.
In general, the Warrior poses in yoga, including the Warrior-Twist Pose, are associated with strength, power, and stability. These poses are named after the mythological warrior Virabhadra, a fierce warrior created by Lord Shiva. The Warrior poses are often practiced to cultivate these qualities within oneself, both physically and mentally.
The twist aspect of the Warrior-Twist Pose adds an element of opening and releasing tension in the body, particularly in the spine. Twists in yoga are often associated with cleansing and detoxification, as they compress and stimulate the internal organs, promoting circulation and the elimination of toxins.
Symbolically, the twist in this pose can also represent the idea of letting go and releasing what no longer serves you. It encourages a sense of surrender and the ability to adapt to change, much like a warrior who needs to be flexible and adaptable in the midst of battle.
Benefits of Twisted Warrior Pose (Twisted Lunge Pose)
The Warrior-Twist Pose offers a range of physical, mental and emotional benefits. The benefits of this asana may vary from person to person, and regular practice is key to experiencing these effects.
However, the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of Twisted Lunge Pose are giving below:
- Strengthens the legs: The pose engages and strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles, promoting stability and muscular endurance.
- Opens the hips: The lunge position in the asana stretches and opens the hip flexors, including the psoas muscles, which tend to become tight from prolonged sitting.
- Improves spinal mobility: The twist in the pose promotes spinal mobility and flexibility, enhancing the range of motion in the spine and reducing stiffness.
- Enhances balance and stability: The combination of the lunge and twist challenges your balance and strengthens the muscles responsible for stability.
- Stimulates digestion: The twist in the asana massages the abdominal organs, promoting digestion, and aiding in detoxification.
Mental and Emotional Benefits:
- Cultivates focus and concentration: The Warrior-Twist Pose requires mental focus and concentration to maintain balance and alignment, helping to improve your ability to concentrate.
- Promotes a sense of grounding: The strong foundation of the pose, coupled with the grounded stance, can create a sense of stability and connection with the earth, promoting a feeling of grounding.
- Releases tension and stress: The twist in the pose can help release tension stored in the back, shoulders, and neck, promoting relaxation and relieving stress.
- Encourages adaptability: The twist aspect of the pose encourages the ability to adapt to change, promoting a sense of flexibility and resilience in both the body and mind.
- Boosts confidence and inner strength: The Parivrtta Virabhadrasana embodies qualities of strength and power, which can help boost self-confidence and cultivate a sense of inner strength.
Warrior-Twist Pose (Parivrtta Virabhadrasana) Practice Guide
In this pose, you begin in a lunge position similar to Warrior I or Warrior II, and then twist your torso, bringing one elbow to the outside of the opposite knee. The arms are typically extended out to the sides, creating a twist in the upper body while maintaining a strong foundation with the legs.
The asana provides a combination of strength, balance, spinal mobility, and a stretch to various muscles in the body. It can be practiced on both sides of the body to ensure balance and symmetry.
- Begin by standing at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), with your feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed by your sides.
- Step your left foot back, turning it slightly outwards at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your right foot pointing forward.
- Bend your right knee, ensuring that it is directly above your ankle, and lower your hips into a lunge position. You should feel a stretch in your left hip flexor.
- As you settle into the lunge, extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your gaze forward.
- Now, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Place your palms together in a prayer position (Anjali Mudra).
- Use your breath to deepen the twist. With each inhale, lengthen your spine and lift through the crown of your head. With each exhale, gently twist deeper, using the leverage of your elbow against your knee to facilitate the rotation.
- Hold the pose for several breaths, maintaining a steady and even breath. Keep your hips square and your back leg engaged.
- To release the pose, inhale as you unwind the twist, bringing your torso back to center. Then, step your left foot forward to meet your right foot and return to Mountain Pose.
- Repeat the pose on the other side by stepping your right foot back and twisting to the left.
Avoid following common mistakes while practicing Warrior-Twist Pose (Revolved Warrior Pose), they can help you understand proper alignment and guide you to a safe and effective practice.
1. Collapsing the chest or rounding the back
When the chest collapses or the back rounds in the pose, it can restrict the twist and compromise the alignment of the spine. This can happen due to a lack of core engagement or flexibility in the upper back. To avoid this mistake, focus on lifting the chest and lengthening the spine throughout the pose. Engage the core muscles to support the spine and maintain an upright posture.
2. Allowing the front knee to collapse inward
Allowing the front knee to cave inward can put unnecessary stress on the knee joint and destabilize the pose. It often happens when there is a lack of engagement in the leg muscles or tightness in the hips. To prevent this, actively engage the muscles of the legs, especially the quadriceps and outer hip muscles, to maintain proper alignment of the front knee. Press the knee gently outward, in line with the second toe.
3. Over-twisting or forcing the twist
Trying to twist too deeply or forcing the twist beyond your current range of motion can strain the spine and compromise the integrity of the pose. It’s important to approach the twist gradually and respect the limitations of your body. Focus on maintaining a balanced twist without excessive strain. Use your breath to deepen the twist gradually with each exhale.
4. Neglecting the lower body engagement
The focus on the twist in the upper body can sometimes lead to neglecting the engagement of the lower body. However, the lower body provides the foundation and stability for the pose. Keep the legs active and grounded, with the front knee aligned over the ankle and the back leg engaged and reaching through the heel. This will help maintain stability and balance in the pose.
5. Holding tension in the shoulders and neck
It’s common to hold tension in the shoulders and neck during the pose, which can limit the freedom of movement and hinder the benefits of the twist. Try to relax the shoulders away from the ears and keep the neck long and relaxed. Focus on creating space and ease in the upper body while maintaining the twist.
Modifications and Variations
Modifications and variations of the Warrior-Twist Pose can be helpful to accommodate different levels of flexibility, strength, or any specific physical limitations.
It’s crucial to listen to your body and choose the modifications or variations that work best for you. If you’re unsure about which modification is suitable for your specific circumstances, consult with a qualified yoga instructor/teacher who can provide personalized guidance and adjustments.
However, the modifications and variations of Parivrtta Virabhadrasana are explaining below:
1. Modified lunge position
If you have difficulty maintaining balance or experiencing discomfort in the front knee, you can modify the lunge position. Instead of stepping the back foot far back, you can shorten the stance by keeping the back knee on the ground. This modification reduces the intensity on the legs and allows for a more stable base, making the asana more accessible.
2. Use of props
Props like yoga blocks or a bolster can be utilized to support the hands or torso in the asana. Placing a block under the hand on the outside of the front foot provides additional stability and helps maintain balance. Similarly, using a bolster under the torso can provide support and make the pose more accessible for those with limited flexibility or tightness in the hips or lower back.
3. One-arm variation
Instead of bringing both arms out to the sides, you can modify the asana by keeping one hand on the ground or on a block. This variation can be beneficial if you have limited mobility or balance issues. It provides extra stability while still allowing for a gentle twist in the upper body.
4. Revolved Chair Pose
If you are looking for a more challenging variation, you can combine elements of Chair Pose (Utkatasana) with a twist. Start in Chair Pose and then twist the torso to one side, bringing the elbow to the outside of the opposite knee. This variation strengthens the legs, core, and back while deepening the twist in the upper body.
5. Supported Twist
For individuals who have difficulty getting into a standing position or prefer a seated pose, a supported twist can be a suitable modification. Sit on a yoga block or bolster, with one leg extended and the other knee bent. Twist the torso towards the bent knee, placing the opposite elbow on the outside of the knee. This seated variation still provides the benefits of a twist while offering a stable and supported position.
Precautions and Contraindications
While the Warrior-Twist Pose (Revolved Warrior Pose or Twisted Lunge Pose) can be beneficial for many people, there are certain precautions and contraindications to keep in mind, while practicing this asana. These precautions are crucial to ensure a safe and appropriate practice.
1. Knee or hip injuries
If you have an existing knee or hip injury, it’s important to approach the asana with caution. The lunge position and the twist can put stress on these joints. Modify the pose by shortening the stance, reducing the depth of the lunge, or avoiding the pose altogether if it causes pain or discomfort. Consult with a qualified yoga instructor or teacher for specific guidance on modifications.
2. Spinal conditions
Individuals with spinal conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or osteoporosis should be cautious with twists. Twisting movements can potentially aggravate these conditions or put undue pressure on the spine. It’s advisable to practice gentle twists or avoid deep twists altogether. Seek guidance from a healthcare professional before attempting the asana.
3. High blood pressure
Twists can temporarily raise blood pressure. If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, it’s recommended to practice gentle twists or avoid deep twists that can intensify the pressure. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance.
Pregnant individuals should approach the Warrior-Twist Pose with care. Twists can compress the abdomen and potentially affect blood flow to the uterus. It’s advisable to modify the asana by avoiding deep twists or twisting only from the upper back and shoulders. Consult with a prenatal yoga instructor or a teacher for safe modifications or alternative asanas suitable for pregnancy.
5. Recent abdominal or digestive surgeries
If you have had recent abdominal or digestive surgeries, twisting poses may not be appropriate during the early stages of recovery. Twists can put strain on the surgical site and hinder the healing process. It’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider and follow their recommendations regarding the appropriate timing and modifications for twisting poses.
6. General discomfort or pain
If you experience any pain, discomfort, or dizziness during the asana, it’s crucial to listen to your body and ease out of the asana. Twists should not cause sharp or intense pain. Respect your body’s limits and modify the asana or choose a more suitable variation.