Parivritta Janu Sirsasana (9* on the scale of difficulty) offers an even deeper side stretch than Janu Sirsasana. But, the differences between the two poses illustrate how Parivritta Janu Sirsasana provides its own unique benefits, beyond just a deeper stretch.
As with Janu Sirsasana, Parivritta Janu Sirsasana stimulates the liver, the spleen, and the kidneys. It also aids in digestion. But, beyond the benefits it shares with it’s sister pose, Parivritta Janu Sirsasana “stimulates the blood circulation to the spine and relieves backaches.” Also, while in Janu Sirsasana the abdominal muscles are contracted, in Parivritta Janu Sirsasana, the abdominal muscles are stretched.
Pregnant yoginis may benefit greatly from the practice of a gentler version of Parivritta Janu Sirsasana. In the third trimester, when your belly expands and begins to lift your diaphragm up, you may experience a feeling of shortness of breath or tightness in your ribcage. An easeful Parivritta Janu Sirsasana can provide a relieving stretch to your intercostals (the muscles in between your individual ribs) and create a sense of space in your upper body. However, pregnant practitioners should not come into the pose as deeply as Iyengar does. Instead, let your right arm drape over your right leg, and reach your left arm up into the sky in a soft arc above your head. Then, lift your gaze up toward the inside of your left arm. Take a deep breath in and revel in the space and solitude of your practice.