Practicing Revolved Chair pose also known as Parivrtta Utkatasana, twisting poses in yoga

Preparing to Twist: Warm Up for Yoga’s Revolved Triangle Pose

Rachel Scott, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Updated: 
February 17, 2021

Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) is arguably one of the most challenging standing poses, requiring flexible hamstrings, adductor engagement, and, of course, spinal rotation. A heat-building pose, Revolved Triangle Pose strengthens all layers of the core, including the abdominal muscles and spinal rotators. Although it is a peak pose in its own right, it can be used as a preparation for more complex poses, such as inversions and backbends. 

Pose #1: Revolved Side-Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)

Revolved Lunge Pose, Revolved Triangle Pose, preparing for twisting poses in yoga, yoga twists

Revolved Side-Angle Pose teaches you to keep your thighs neutral in the hip socket (so that they are not rotating), engage your adductors, and twist your spine, all of which you will need to do in our final yoga pose, Revolved Triangle Pose. 

  1. Start in a high lunge with your right foot forward and your feet hips-distance apart from left to right. For extra stability, you may choose to place the back knee down on the floor. Squeeze your legs together to keep your thighs neutral in the pelvis.  

  2. Bring your hands together in front of your heart and press your palms together to widen your chest. 

  3. Hinge forward so that your spine creates a continuous line from your back leg. Pause to adjust, lengthening both sides of the waist.

  4. Keeping evenness through the torso, inhale to lengthen your torso, and exhale to twist to the right. Bring the left hand or the left elbow to the outside of the knee. Only lower your torso toward your right leg to the extent that you can keep both sides of the torso long.

  5. Pause, look down. Note that your nose should align with the inside of your right knee. Ensure that both sides of your torso are the same length so that you are not rounding or arching the spine. 

  6. As you press your hands, draw your top shoulder back and hug that shoulder blade closer to your spine to open your chest. 

  7. Inhale to lengthen your spine; exhale to twist. Stay for 3 more breaths. 

  8. Inhale to untwist, place your hands back onto the floor, and change sides.

Pose #2: Half Monkey Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Stretching, yoga stretches, Half Monkey Pose, Ardha Hanumanasana

Half Monkey (Splits) Pose helps to lengthen the hamstrings and activate the adductors, both of which you will need for Revolved Triangle Pose. 

  1. Start in a low lunge with your right foot forward and your feet hips-distance apart from left to right. For extra stability, you may choose to place your hands on blocks under your shoulders. 

  2. Inhale to lengthen your spine forward, as you exhale, shift your hips back so that your hips are aligned over your back knee. 

  3. Squeeze your legs together to keep your adductors engaged. 

  4. Press your front heel down and pull back with your heel so that you engage your hamstrings and feel your knee bend slightly. This action is very important for resisting the temptation of knee hyperextension.

  5. Press your fingertips down, or press your hands into your blocks, to reach your open chest forward toward your toes. Rather than rounding, work to straighten and lengthen your spine. 

  6. Inhale to lengthen your spine; exhale to forward fold. Stay for 10 breaths. 

  7. Inhale and bend your front knee.  Bring your hands down to your mat, and change sides.

Pose #3: Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

Props in yoga, chair as yoga prop, twisting poses, Revolved Chair Pose, yoga pose varaitions

Revolved Chair Pose helps keep the thighs neutral in the hip sockets (non-rotating), engage the adductors, and rotate the spine, all of which you need for Revolved Triangle Pose. 

  1. Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet together and your hands by your side.

  2. Tilt your pelvis forward and send your tailbone back so that your knees bend. Lengthen your torso, front and back, and keep the back of your neck long. 

  3. Squeeze your legs together strongly and bring your weight back into your heels. 

  4. Bring your hands together in front of your heart and press your palms together. 

  5. Hinge forward from your hip joints, so that your spine creates a long line that is parallel to the floor. Pause to notice the length and evenness along the sides of your waist. 

  6. Keeping the sides of your torso long and even, inhale to lengthen, and exhale to twist to the right. Bring the left hand to the outer knee, place the elbow between the knees, or place the elbow outside the right knee. Choose the hand/arm placement that allows you to keep the sides of your torso long and collarbones broad. 

  7. Pause, and look down. As you did in Revolved Lunge Pose, make sure that your nose is aligned with your spine and with the midline between your legs. Ensure that both sides of your torso are the same length so that you are not rounding or arching the spine. 

  8. As you press your palms together, draw your right shoulder back and draw the shoulder blade closer to your spine to open your chest. 

  9. Inhale to lengthen your spine; exhale to twist. Stay for 3 more breaths. 

  10. Inhale to untwist, forward fold for a few breaths, and then change sides.

Pose #4: Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

Forward bending, Pyramid Pose, Parsvottanasana, blocks as props in yoga, yoga pose variations

Pyramid Pose is exactly like Revolved Triangle—but without the spinal rotation. This pose will help you to set up a strong foundation for the peak pose of our series. 

  1. Begin standing in Tadasana with two blocks at the top of your mat, on the outsides of your feet.

  2. Step your left foot back behind you and place your feet so that they are hips-distance apart from left to right, and your back toes are pointed toward the front left corner of your mat. Allow your back thigh, knee, and shin to point in the same direction as your toes (slightly externally rotated). 

  3. Inhale to grow tall and place your hands on your hips. Exhale and hinge at your hips to fold forward over your legs. Place your hands on the blocks under your shoulders. 

  4. Bend your right knee slightly and squeeze your inner thighs together for stability. 

  5. Press into the big toe mound of your front foot and draw your outer right hip back.

  6. If you can keep your spine long, stretch your right leg toward straight. Continue to press the big toe mound forward to resist hyperextension.

  7. Press your hands into your blocks to reach your chest forward toward the front of your mat. Rather than rounding, work to straighten and lengthen your spine. 

  8. Stay for 5 breaths. 

  9. Bend your front knee, press into your feet, and bring your hands to your hips. Inhale to rise up. Step forward into Mountain Pose. 

  10. Repeat the pose on the second side. 

Pose #5: Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

peak poses in yoga, Revolved Triangle Pose, Parivrtta Trikonasana, twisting poses

Revolved Triangle Pose builds on our base of Pyramid Pose but adds spinal rotation. Energetically, this powerful pose stimulates manipura chakra at the solar plexus, which is the seat of our personal will and transformational fire. 

  1. Follow the above instructions to set yourself up in Pyramid Pose with your right foot forward. Place both hands on blocks.

  2. Keep your left hand on your left block and place your right hand on your right hip.

  3. Actively pull your outer right hip back as you reach your chest forward, then place your right hand on your sacrum so that you can feel that your hips are level. 

  4. Option 1: Keep your left hand where it is and squeeze your legs together to keep your pelvis stable. Inhale to lengthen, and as you exhale, twist from the lower ribs to the right. 

  5. Option 2: If you can keep both sides of your torso even and long, you may bring your hand to the block outside of your right foot. Inhale to lengthen, and as you exhale twist from the lower ribs to the right. 

  6. Press into the big toe mound of your front foot to soften your knee as you pull your outer right hip back. Press into the outer edge of your back foot to keep the left side of your pelvis buoyant. 

  7. Inhale to lengthen your spine; exhale to twist. 

  8. If your collarbones can stay broad and your pelvis stable, you may take your right hand up to the sky. 

  9. Draw your right shoulder blade toward your spine and open your chest to the right. 

  10. Gaze straight ahead. If your neck permits you to look upward without strain, you can look up toward your left hand. 

  11. Press into your feet strongly and stay for two more breaths.  

  12. Inhale to untwist, and return both hands to your blocks. Then bend your right knee, bring your hands to your hips and come all the way up to a standing position. 

  13. Return to Mountain Pose and then switch sides.

Once you have completed Revolved Triangle Pose, sit for a few minutes in Hero’s Pose (Virasana) or Easy Seated Pose (Sukhasana) to sense the power of your core and openness of your spine.  

 

Lisa Clark, ERYT500. Yoga teacher and therapist, International Somatic Movement Educator, Body-Mind Centering

 

Rachel Scott, Writer, Yoga teacher, yoga trainer, coachRachel helps yoga teachers and studios around the world create transformational education experiences so that they can thrive in their business, share their passion, and inspire more people to practice yoga. Her extensive knowledge and experience include earning two master's degrees, authoring five books, leading over twenty 200-hour teacher trainings, building a teacher training department for a national yoga studio, and working in yoga studio management for more than fifteen years. She combines her extensive practical experience with her academic expertise (Masters in Instructional Systems and Learning Technology) to help yoga teachers and studios develop quality, transformational in-person, and online educational programs.

As a yoga expert, has written for periodicals such as Yoga International and the Huffington Post, made guest appearances on CTV, Breakfast Television, and numerous podcasts, and presented at venues such as Wanderlust, Omega Institute, and several international yoga conferences. She exuberantly shares her knowledge and skills through coaching, her blog, YouTube channel, and free online classes. Find her at rachelyoga.com or on social media at rachelscottyoga.