A simple and quiet seated pose like Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose (Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana) happens to be a good pose that reveals the way you deal with your desire. The beauty and complexity of the pose tempts you to decide if you are going to sacrifice the proper form of the Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose with the desire to grab the toes over your head? Many people fail to resist and end up with chest collapsed while holding the pose.
Making of Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose
From Dandasana (Seated Staff Pose), fold your right leg in and put the right foot sole against the left inner thigh. Move your right knee back a little more, so it points back cornerwise behind you but still keep the heel pressing into the groin. Keep the left leg straight, toes and kneecap facing up to the ceiling. Sit tall as you inhale. Exhale and turn your torso from the waist a little bit to the right. Next inhale you extend your left arm out to the left, palm facing up. Next exhale you reach your left arm including left side torso to the left, put your forearm down on the floor inside your left leg, hold left foot from the inside if you can.
Take another inhale to extend the right arm up toward the ceiling. Exhale and reach it up and over your head toward the left foot. Keep the right arm over the right ear, neither behind nor in front of your head. Maybe you will grab your left foot with the right hand. While you hold Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose for at least 5 breathes, observe every sensations and experiences of this pose. Once you finish, slowly leave the pose and switch to the other side.
As Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose requires from you a flexible hips and shoulders, long hamstring and torso, supple spine and strong lungs, not everyone can do it the way I describe above. So instead of forcing yourself into Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose, we should understand the true quality of each element of the pose and then find some modification or support that can bring about those benefits without sacrificing its good alignment.
In order to protect your lower back and sacral joint from unnecessary compression, make sure you are sitting on the center of each sitting bone, not the back edge of the sitting bone or the sacrum. If your tailbone tucked under, sacrum tilted posteriorly, and you feel sinking, rather than uplifting; put a blanket or even a block underneath your sitting bones to elevate the pelvis and allow your pelvis to tilt more forward. This will not only protect your lower back and sacral joint but also ensure the quality of Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose as a hip opener.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose can be a big stretch for your side torso as long as you can keep your chest open. If your chest collapses, you turn it into an ugly forward bend. If the elbow and forearm of bottom arm cannot touch the floor; instead of sinking your torso down to touch the elbow, you put a block inside the straight leg for your forearm to rest on. And it does not matter if you can grab the foot with your bottom hand or not. If the foot is out of your reach, leave it there.
Trying so hard to grab the foot with the top hand is also a major reason why your chest collapsed. If the foot is out of the reach of your top arm, again, just leave it there. Keep your top arm reaching up over your top ear, not in front of your face. As you roll your chest up toward the ceiling, you roll the top arm toward your ear. This will draw your arm bone back into the shoulder socket and stabilize shoulder blade into the back, in turn will prevent your chest from rolling toward the ground.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose is a side bend, a hip opener and a twist, all in one pose. Many actions make up this pose, and many sensations arise while doing it. It is a great pose for relieving lower back pain, stretching the spine and improving the breathing. Only if you can resist the temptation of the distant foot would have a chance of receiving these benefits.
Model: Puii in Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana