Video: Reclined twist

Reclined Twist

Video: Reclined twist

Reclined Twist is great for beginners! This reclined pose has many benefits! It is so YUMMY for the spine and digestion.

It is also a lovely way to release stress, tension and toxins from the body. This twist squeezes and stretches all the muscles and organs of the torso and even tones the core.

Give it try and let me know what you think! This video is part of our Foundations of Yoga series.

Watch on !

Remember back when we used to go to the mall? to walk around and people watch? I would get a ride to the JC Penny entrance to meet friends, walk around, eat too much sugar and window shop. I remember when The Sharper Image came to town.

It was always so much fun and restorative to go sit in those fancy massage chairs and take turns “chilling out” while avoiding eye contact with the employees. Even as a teenager I sought restorative moments. Time to take a chill pill and feel good. Now, I drop down and do reclined twist.

(My, how I have evolved??) Even since shooting this little video for you I cannot seem to get enough of this pose. I just want to roll around and twist and shout every hour on the hour! We are entering that time of year where everything seems to be bustling with busy energy and excitement.

Take a sneaky break from your Christmas shopping (metaphor!) and give yourself a moment in that fancy massage chair in the back of Sharper Image.

Take a second to experiment and experience a yoga pose. Lie down. Breathe. Twist. Massage your internal organs and allow the nervous system to restore and be happy. This pose has a diverse number of benefits. I can tell you that this asana has released all depression from my spine (broke my tailbone a couple years back) and has also improved my digestion by, oh, 100%. TMI? You’ll see…

Twists are life changing yoga postures. In my opinion. Twists offer an opportunity to go deeper while also detoxifying the body of that which is no longer serving you. Think of the body as a sponge. What have you been absorbing? What can you afford to shed and squeeze out in your twist? Wring it out! Create space for the things that you desire and want to manifest in the New Year.

Put on a song that makes you feel good. Use the duration of that song to experiment in the Reclined Twist. Great to slowly wake up the body in the morning and an awesome pose to practice after a long day or long weekend as it restores and brings balance to the bod. Let me know how it goes. (And let me know what song!)



  • Great for digestive health
  • Tones waistline
  • Detoxifying
  • Encourages fresh flow of blood to digestive organs, increasing digestive health and function of your whole digestive system.
  • Can cure gastritis!
  • Lengthens and realigns the spine, happy spine!
  • Stretches back and booty muscles
  • Strengthens abdominal muscles
  • Massages abdominal organs
  • Brings balance to body and can restore equilibrium in the nervous system
  • Place blanket or pillow underneath legs
  • Bring your knees closer into the chest to help relive sciatica
  • For shoulder injury or if you experience any fussiness in shoulders lower arms in your “Texas T” and/or rest hands on ribcage.


Looking for a Refresh? Try a Reclining Twist

Video: Reclined twist

A few years ago, some friends and I performed an eye-opening experiment. We painted the body's major organs, glands, nerves, and muscles on a long white unitard.

Then one of us donned the outfit and moved through a series of yoga postures as the rest of us watched.

We observed the kidney area being squeezed in backbends, the stomach being compressed in forward bends, and the ribs and lungs being gracefully stretched in side-bending actions.

Thanks for watching!

Watching my friend move through a series of spine-wringing twists was the most illuminating of all.

Twisting seemed to alternately squeeze and stretch the entire contents of the torso—muscles, nerves, glands, and organs—from the pelvis all the way up through the neck.

After seeing this unitard demo, I'm not surprised that twists are renowned for their balancing and toning powers, and for their ability to cleanse the body from head to toe.

Twists are often taught as balms for sluggish digestion, low energy, stifled breathing, and a variety of muscle aches and pains. Best of all, they feel good from the inside out. Reclining Twist offers an opportunity to feel the power of wringing out the body from its core.

It can improve breathing, ease back and neck tension, and soothe frazzled nerves. Its reclined position lets us linger in the posture's curves and spirals, inviting the twist to penetrate deep into the spine.

If you're anything me, this pose will leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and rinsed clean.

Thanks for watching!Thanks for watching!

See also 3 Ways to Modify Bharadvaja’s Twist II

Set Up Your Reclining Twist: Build a Strong Foundation from the Ground Up

To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet comfortably on the floor. If your neck and shoulders feel tense, or if your chin juts upward toward the sky instead of settling comfortably toward your chest, elevate your head a few inches with a folded blanket or pillow.

Take a few moments to make sure the back body is long. Roll gently toward your left side and slip your right shoulder blade down toward the hips to create additional space between the ear and shoulder. Repeat this action on the other side.

To relax the lower back, lift the hips off the ground and gently draw the tailbone toward the heels. Maintain this length as you set the pelvis back down. Let a few soft breaths ripple through your body as you surrender to gravity's embrace.

Consider the sensations in your back body. If you notice that you are at all kinked up or wrinkled, adjust your position until you feel as if you are resting on a well-made bed rather than a tired and lumpy mattress.

Invite the skin of the back body to spread and soften, settling with ease and relief into the earth. Try to let go as you rest quietly here, breathing comfortably and drawing your awareness inward.

Move with Mindfulness

When you feel the urge to move, grab hold of the back of the right thigh or the shin with your hands and draw the right knee toward your ribs.

(If you find it difficult to reach your leg, wrap a strap behind the knee, hold one end of the strap with each hand, and gently bring the knee toward you.

) Rock gently from side to side to massage the lower back, and invite your exhalations to lengthen.

Still drawing the right knee toward your chest, slowly straighten the left leg by reaching your foot toward the end of your mat. Ideally, the leg will end up fully outstretched, as in Savasana (Corpse Pose).

If this action causes you to wince, though, extend the leg only as far as is comfortable.

Linger here for just a few moments, allowing the leg and hip muscles to release while encouraging the breath to feel as free and rhythmic as possible.

Now comes the fun part. Imagine you're lounging around in bed on a sleepy Saturday morning. Roll onto your left side, bringing your right knee and both arms along with you as you turn.

You should end up on your left side from ear to ankle, with your right hip stacked directly on top of your left and both arms resting on the floor to your left.

If rolling over feels awkward or gawky, try this tip: As you begin to roll toward your left, bend your right arm so the fingertips point upward, then press the right elbow firmly into the floor on your right side. This should give you a little leverage to roll over toward the left without strain.

Once you've rolled over, take a moment to assess the situation. For some, the right knee will drop easily toward the floor. For others, the floor will feel it's a million miles away.

If the latter is the case for you, slip a folded blanket or bolster between the right knee and the earth.

In this twist, it's more important that the right knee is supported enough for you to feel grounded than to force the leg to reach all the way to the floor.

See also Baptiste Yoga: A Twisting Advanced Core Flow

Move the Ribcage and Free Your Torso

Before completing the twist, visualize the possibility of maintaining the well-rooted feeling of the lower body—with the pelvis still looking toward the left. From the pelvis down, you'll stay nestled on your left side in that sleepy Saturday-morning pose. But from the rib cage up, you will spin toward the right—ending up on your back as if you were resting in Savasana.

To do this, first anchor the inner right knee by imagining that you're stitching it to the ground.

Press the left elbow into the floor to help you rise up lightly through the chest, so the ribs and heart can spin toward the right ever so slightly.

As you do this, reach the right arm up above the body and extend from the heart all the way through the fingertips, with the palm facing the same direction as the face.

Now imagine you have eyes in the front of your heart. When you are resting on your left side, these eyes are looking toward the left. But as you revolve the upper chest toward the right, the heart spins so it gazes upward toward the sky.

This deep rotation at the body's core will encourage the right arm and shoulder blade to sweep outward toward the floor on your right side. Let the head follow the action of the twist, so you end up looking toward your right hand.

It is ly that in the beginning, muscle tightness will prevent the right shoulder from releasing completely onto the ground as you spin the upper body open. If this is the case for you, don't despair.

Instead, bend the right arm and rest your hand on your ribs.

Positioning your arm in this way is a better solution than plopping your right hand onto the ground while the shoulder still bobs in space, which risks straining the upper body.

In your mind's eye, trace a diagonal line from your right knee to your right hand and then lengthen through the torso along that line. If you feel yourself kinking up in the right waist, place your right thumb in the hip crease and actively draw the right hip away from your shoulder and toward your feet. Then bring the right arm back to its place.

The action of twisting will compress the diaphragm, so you may feel your breathing get more shallow. Bring your attention to the space you have created in the right side of the rib cage and imagine flooding the right lung with your breath.

Once you've settled as far into the twist as your body will allow, release any sense of effort and let gravity do the rest of the work. Enjoy the deep spiral of the spine. When you feel the urge to unwind, release the posture and lie flat on your back in Savasana.

Explore New Sensations with Asymmetry

Remain here for a few moments and take stock of any new sensations moving through you.

After exploring the asymmetry of this twist, it is ly that the two sides of your body—your shoulders, ribs, belly, hips, and legs on the left and right—feel they belong to different creatures.

How does your right shoulder feel compared to your left? Can you detect any new pattern of your breathing after practicing just one side of Reclining Twist? Does your spine feel more fluid and free?

When you're ready, repeat the pose on the second side. Remember, the name of the game in this exploration is to anchor the legs while revolving the spine and torso in the opposite direction; on this side, that will maximize the stretch in the left side of the body.

When you've reached your comfortable limit, remember to settle in and breathe. Soften the body, relax the skin, and surrender into the stretch of the twist. Observe how breath by breath, time and gravity allow you to release ever more deeply into the pose, wringing out your spine from bottom to top.

Now sink, stretch, ooze, and release. Relinquish any grasping from your bones all the way out through the skin, so you feel softer, warmer, and stretchier. In your mind, trace the snake spiral of the twist from your tailbone to the top of your head. Linger here for a few more breaths, yielding and growing more supple with each exhalation.

When you're ready, unravel yourself, coming onto your back. Draw both knees toward your chest, rocking gently from side to side, then place your arms and legs on the floor and settle into Savasana.

Let your breathing be full and deep, with each inhalation bringing you renewal and vitality, and each exhalation offering a sweet sigh of relief.

Note the effects of the twist—you might feel an evenness in your body from left to right, an increased ability to breathe deeply, or a sense of stillness and equanimity—and bring this increased awareness with you the next time you come to your mat.

See also Alexandria Crow's Pretty Twisted Practice


Posture of the Month: Supine Twist

Video: Reclined twist

Are you looking for a way to warm up before twist poses? Interested in unwinding your spine and hips at the end of the day? If so, you might enjoy Supine Twist.

The Supine Twist is a posture I modified from Knee Down Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana).

In Knee Down Twist, you lay on your back with your left leg straight. Your right knee bends up towards your chest and crosses over midline. You can hold your right knee with your left hand and open your right arm out to the side, palm facing the ceiling.

The sacroiliac joint is the joint between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis located just above the tailbone

Knee Down Twist can feel amazing for some people and sometimes be too intense on the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is the place at the base of the spine joint where the spine attaches to the pelvic bones. Supine Twist gives you similar benefits of Knee Down Twist but without putting too much torque on the sacroiliac joint.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the creation of the shape of the posture, benefits, and ways to tailor this warm-up to your physical needs.

Create the physical shape of Supine Twist

All postures have a physical shape and an energetic feel. Here are instructions on how to achieve the physical shape of the posture:

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
  2. Inhale, and bring your knees to the left.
  3. Exhale, bring your knees back to center on the inhale.
  4. Repeat bringing your knees to the right.

Make Supine Twist work for you

The beauty of a yoga practice is its flexibility (no pun intended!). That is, you can make adjustments to the positioning and use props. Try some of the variations below and make it work for you.

Hold for a few breaths

Enjoying the stretch? Stay with your knees to the right for a few breaths before you switch sides.

Engage your core

In this pose, we use the exhale to bring the knees back to center. Exhaling automatically encourages our deepest layer of abdominal muscles, the deep stabilizing transverse abdominals, to engage.

We can accentuate this by adding a deep lower abdominal contraction as we bring the knees back up to center.

Where to put your arms

Your arm should be placed wherever is the most comfortable for you. Here are some options to try:

  • at your side
  • at 90 degrees with your palms up
  • in “cactus arms” (90 degree shoulder and elbow bend)
  • up in a V
  • behind your head

You can rest your arms by your side with palms facing up

Make it restorative

Transform Supine Twist into a restorative posture.

Place a bolster or blankets at the side of your body, so your knees land on the cushion. Taking some of the stretch this posture will allow you to stay in it for a few minutes without strain.

In this modification, a bolster is placed under the right knee. This limits spinal rotation, which might feel better for people with sacroiliac joint pain.

This modification is nice for people with limited spinal and hip rotation. In this photo, there is a bolster under the right knee to limit spinal rotation and pillow between the knees to limit left hip internal rotation

This is also a great option for people who have limitations in spinal rotation.


Supine Twist increases flexibility of the:

  • back
  • hips
  • ribs
  • upper back/shoulders


Supine Twist also offers a moment to quiet the nervous system. Taking a pause in this posture, especially when paired with paced breathing or the dirgha (3 part) breath, calms the sympathetic nervous system.

Digestive support

For students with gastrointestinal issues, this can be a helpful posture for releasing gas.

Starting with the knees left (lengthening the fascia above the ascending colon) and finishing right (above the descending colon) might be helpful in aiding the movement process.

Who is this posture good for?

This posture is particularly for helping manage constipation, overactive bladder, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, and dysmenorrhea.

Additionally, most adults need more opportunities to move in a variety of ways as we are often stuck in prolonged sitting postures during the day.

Enjoy and move easefully!


Reclining Twist

Video: Reclined twist


  • Twisting at the end of the practice helps to restore equilibrium in the nervous system and release tension in the spine.
  • Sarah Powers notes that bringing the bent knee more to the chest can relieve sciatica.
  • Massages the stomach and cures gastritis.


  • If you have shoulder issues (such as rotator cuff injuries) or are prone to tingling in the hands when you extend your arms overhead, you may not want to raise your arm to rest beside the ear or to let it float. Instead, bend the raised arm or support it with a bolster. If tingling persists, draw the hand lower or rest it on the ribs.

Getting Into the Pose:

  • Lying on your back, draw both knees into your chest. Open your arms to the side wings and drop the knees to one side.

Alternatives & Options:

  • Directing the knees lower, or higher, will affect where in the spine the stretch is felt. If the knees are higher, this moves the twist to the upper back; lowering the knees moves the twist more to the lumbar/sacrum.
  • For a deeper twist, draw one knee into the chest and, holding that knee with the opposite hand, draw it across the body. Rock back and forth a few times, but try to keep the shoulder blades flat on the floor. If the shoulder is off the floor, place a bolster under the bent knee(s).
  • If the shoulder is still floating, place a blanket under the shoulder or a bolster along the spine.
  • Experiment with the head turning your head to either side and notice how the sensations change.
  • The hand alongside the ear can be resting on the floor or on a bolster.
  • Try the Twisted Roots pose with knees crossed as in eagle pose (Garudasana).
  • Placing the top leg straight out to the side applies the most leverage, which helps to keep the hips fully turned. For some, it’s less of a twist and more of a stretch to the outside of the leg and hip: great for the IT band. The deepest version of this option is to hold the foot with the opposite hand.

Coming the Pose:

  • Slowly roll onto your back and hug the knees into the chest to release the sacrum and lumbar.

Counter poses:

  • Hug the knees and rock on your back from side to side
  • Windshield Wipers while lying back can be a nice release. Lying down with your knees bent and your feet on the floor as wide apart as the mat, drop the knees from side to side.

Meridians & Organs Affected:

  • Twisting the spine stimulates the Urinary Bladder lines along the spine (the ida and pingala nadis)
  • If one arm is overhead, several meridians in the arms are stimulated – the Heart, Lung, and Small Intestines.
  • Twists compress the stomach and massage the internal organs. Twisting through the rib cage stimulates the Gall Bladder meridians.
  • Helps the liver, spleen, and pancreas [1]

Joints Affected:

  • Nurtures the shoulder joint and upper spine, as well as all the tissues in the upper chest, breast, and shoulder.
  • When the knee is at 90 degrees or less, the lower spine, especially the lumbar and sacroiliac joints are stressed.

Recommended Hold Time:

Similar Yang Asanas:

Other Notes:

  • An excellent final pose of the practice, because it removes any kinks and knots
  • You can slide right from this pose into Shavasana.
  • If tingling occurs in the arms or hands, move them lower until the blood flows again. [2]
  • Twisted Roots is a great way to internally rotate the hips after a lot of external hip rotation work, such as Shoelace, Swan, Square or Winged Dragon poses.
  • Don’t push into the twist, relax. Let gravity do the work.


Supine Spinal Twist Can Help Improve Back Mobility

Video: Reclined twist

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Target: Stretch for the gluteus, chest, and obliques

It feels good to do twists the Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) during the cool down portion of your yoga session.

At the end of your practice, you can take advantage of your warmed muscles to move into deep twists that help counteract the effects of too much time spent sitting in chairs.

As an experiment, try this pose when you first get on your mat and again at the end of your practice and see if you feel a difference.

Supta Matsyendrasana stretches the glutes, chest, and obliques. Because of the chest stretch, it is considered a heart opener. It improves spinal mobility and can aid digestion. It is a relaxing pose at the end of a yoga session. In everyday life, your posture will benefit from this antidote to sitting and hunching over work.

You will need an area where you can lay out your yoga mat.

  1. Lie down on your back.
  2. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling.
  3. Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right.

    This is an important step because it sets your hips up to stack one on top of the other when you move into the twist. 

  4. Exhale and draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot actively flexed throughout the pose. Inhale.

  5. Exhale and cross your right knee over your midline to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now stacked on top of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you .
  6. Open your right arm to the right, keeping it in line with your shoulders.

     Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.

  7. Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. You can skip this step if it doesn't feel good on your neck.

  8. On your exhalations, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor.
  9. Hold the pose for five to 10 breaths. To come the pose, inhale and roll onto your back, drawing your right knee into your chest. Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for several breaths before doing the other side.

Avoid these errors when doing this pose.

You should breathe deeply and smoothly throughout this pose. Do not hold your breath.

Do not force your knee to the floor. If you are not that limber, bring it over only as much as you can comfortably. You might place a pillow under your knees and feet.

You can make this pose more comfortable or deepen it for greater effect.

You may feel you can't bring your right knee to the floor and keep both shoulders flat on the ground at the same time. If necessary, prioritize keeping the shoulders down and let the knee float up a bit. If your right knee is a long way from the floor, you may want to place a block under it for support.

If having one leg straight and the other bent feels too intense, you can bend both knees and stack your legs instead.

In pregnancy, you may be more comfortable placing a pillow between the knees during this pose.

Before twisting, take your legs straight up to 90 degrees. Wrap your right leg around your left, coming into Eagle (Garudasana) legs. Then twist, bringing the right knee over to the left side of the body while keeping the legs intertwined.

Avoid this pose if you have a recent or ongoing injury of your knees, hips, or back. There should be no pain when doing this pose. If you feel any pain in your back or knee, come out the pose slowly.

Incorporate this move and similar ones into one of these popular workouts:

Thanks for your feedback!

What are your concerns?


[Pose Of the Week] Relax & Release In Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Beginner)

Video: Reclined twist

Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana), also known as Reclined Spinal Twist, Supine Twist Pose, or Reclined Lord of the Fishes Pose, is a gentle beginner twist that is commonly done in many beginner yoga classes to help relax the mind and body.

This pose also helps to release tight muscles in both the upper and lower back, opens the shoulders, stretches and releases the tight and overworked spinal muscles while realigning the spine, quiets the mind, and may improve digestion and help the body to eliminate toxins.

It is also believed to stimulate the kidneys, abdominal organs, bladder, and intestines.

While Supine Spinal Twist Pose is a beginner-level yoga pose and is gentle enough for almost anyone, you should avoid the pose if you have a recent back injury or degenerative disc disease, or if you have a recent or chronic injury to your knees or hips.

To modify the pose, you may wish to place a small cushion, bolster, or folded blanket under the bent knee. Shifting your hips slightly to the opposite side before beginning your twist helps to keep the spine aligned. This relieves stress on the lower back, and may also help you relax more fully into the pose.

Are You Making These Yoga Mistakes? Don't let mistakes derail your yoga practice! Learn the 3 most common mistakes – and how to avoid them – so that you can achieve more peace, joy, balance, and health from your yoga sessions. Watch The Video Here

Be sure to take your time, breathing deeply and slowly as you relax into the pose, and do not push or force the twist. Listen to your body, and if you feel any pain, back off, or come the pose and rest in Knees-to-Chest or Wind Relieving Pose for a few minutes.

Here’s how to do Supine Spinal Twist Pose, according to

  1. To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket for extra neck support. Let your arms rest at your sides.
  2. On an exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. This is Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
  3. Extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right knee drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing down.
  4. Shift your hips slightly to the right. Then, place your left hand on the outside of your right knee. Exhaling, drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee.
  5. Turn your head to the right. Soften your gaze toward your right fingertips. Keep your shoulder blades pressing toward the floor and away from your ears. Allow the force of gravity to drop your knee even closer to the floor. If your right toes can touch the floor, allow your foot to rest.
  6. Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. On an inhalation, slowly come back to center, bringing both knees to your chest in Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
  7. Exhale, and extend your right leg along the floor. Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.
  8. When you’re finished with the pose, hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths in Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana). Then, slowly exhale as you extend both legs along the floor.
Don't Make These Yoga Mistakes! Did you know that there are 3 mistakes many new yoga practitioners make that can severely reduce your results? Check out this quick video to learn how to avoid these mistakes and get the most your yoga practice:Watch the Video

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Twist into Bliss – Perfect Poses for LOVE

Video: Reclined twist
In my classes they are often the first and last pose of a sequence, and one of the first things I have my private clients start doing in their home practice. Every yoga therapy session includes a twist, and I even encourage my students to do a “bed yoga” twist pose before going to sleep at night.

Spinal Twists are considered “bliss poses” because of the special effect on the mind, body and subtle body channels. A basic twists { the seated twist shown in this photo} is the easiest and simplest pose for even the most newbie or physically limited yogi to achieve with the least effort and the MOST benefit.

I have found over the years that even a twist done imperfectly gives amazing and immediate results.

  Yoga’s spinal twists can… 

  • give the deepest physical change along your WHOLE spine of any other yoga poses
  • quiet the mind more immediately than any other kind of pose
  • massage your internal organs {which ones will depend on the focal point of the twist}
  • make you feel longer and more flexible as they create space between the vertebrae
  • balance the two main meridians or nādis {energy channels} along the spine – one relating to moon- or feminine qualities and the other relating to sun- or masculine qualities. 
  • cultivate a calm and relaxed state, making them great preparation for meditation!
  • resolve emotional blockage locked in the physical or subtle body system
  • Reclined twists {twists in a lying down position, as in Jathara Parivrttanasana}
  • Seated twists {twists in a seated position, as in Ardha Matsyendrāsana or Parivrrta Sukhāsana}
  • Back-bending twists {more on this in a future article, but in these kinds of twists, such as Bharadvajāsana, the heart is slightly ahead of the head, as in a backbend + the spine is twisting… whoa, mind. blown. right?}
  • Forward-bending twists {here the spine is sloped in a downward angle – from mild to extreme – while the spine is twisting, as wide angle forward bend twist or Parivrtta Prasārita Padottanāsana}

More about the different effects of reclined, seated and standing āsana right here. 

There are many twisting poses, with lots of variations for different results, and modifications for different body-types. We can narrow twisting poses into a few categories which will be familiar to yoga teachers, and experienced students. For the beginner, I hope this inspires your knowledge of the practices you are coming to love! I’ve included the sanskrit names of poses here and there {especially for yoga teachers}… but don’t fret, the English names are fun to say too… making it sound you are ordering some kind of yogi cocktail – eg. “half frog with a twist” or “sweet pose with a twist” {you get the picture}. 

It is important in spinal twists to be well aligned, move slowly and consciously to ensure you are moving, releasing and twisting the “stuck” or tight areas, called granthis {means knots in Sanskrit}.

These include the pelvis, heart region or thorasic spine, and the base of the skull. Simultaneously, you want to be sure not to OVER-TWIST and “spring a leak” in already hypermobile areas of your spine – these are the neck and waist. Details about this in my classes and workshops on twists.

But here are two tricks… {1} twist your neck LAST, and {2} don’t arch your waist.

Sequencing {aka When to Twist}
Twists can be done at almost any point in a sequence, and you can do 2-3 twists within one yoga practice. You’ll need to follow any sequencing rules you normally adhere to regarding the other categories of movement {for example a forward-bending twist you follows general sequencing recommendations for forward bends}. But for the most part, twists can be slotted into your practice very easily. Here are some GREAT ways to think about when to do twists… 

  • Twist at the beginning of your practice for a gentle spinal warm up as well as begins the inner quietude that is the goal of yoga
  • Twist at the end of your practice {before Shavasana or meditation} will cultivate more meditative state & give the most benefit physically. 
  • Twist as a counterpose to a forward bend
  • Twist in the middle of your practice between more active sequences for a moment of respite
  • Twist in the middle of a restorative practice to allow more inner absorption of the affects of your practice.
  • Twisting at the beginning AND end of your practice is even GREAT, if you have the time.

{Sequencing geek? join my colleagues and me on this blog tour all about sequencing!}

My Favorite Spinal Twist

This version of Jathara Parivrtanāsana {translates to stomach twist pose}, is a reclined, back-bending twist. Watch the video to see a demo and follow the instructions below to include it in your personal practice.

 How to do this reclined spinal twist…

  1. Start in the standard angles of the pose of the bent legged reglined spinal twist, knows as Jathara Parivrttanasana
  2. Rest here  
  3. Rest here for about 30 seconds.

    letting your whole body relax into the twist and allow your mind to settle

  4. Bring top knee down to floor by raising that hip in the air. Slide bottom knee and foot downward and back slightly into an elongated and nearly straight position, using leg muscles. Then relax the leg, letting the side of the leg lean into the floor.

  5. Make sure you are still allowing the ribs to twist back {do not be curled up on your side}
  6. You’re bent knee {the top leg} MUST STAY ON THE FLOOR! You can lift your hip, to get your knee down.  You may need to use your hand / arm to hold that knee down.


  7. Your extended leg can just be straight-ish and must be RELAXED
  8. Don’t flip onto your belly – you should have weight in the SIDE of your extended leg, not the front of it.


  9. Keep your back arm bent with your hand on your waist
  10. OPTIONAL PROP – if chin is more than slightly raised above the forhead, place a layer of blankets under the head to level. It’s okay if chin is slightly raised, as this is a result of the backbend through the ribcage.
  11. To come out, slide the extended leg up and return to the basic pose. Rest here for 2-3 breaths.
  12. To come out, roll back to onto your back and hold both knees (Supta Garbhasana)
  13. Do your other side

TIME – 2-6 minutes per side

Are you twisting in to bliss? 
Tell me about your favorite twist, or twist experience in the comments below, or on … and come check out a class this summer to explore twist variations and their inner effects! 


7 Yoga Poses to Do in Bed for Enhanced Relaxation and Better Sleep

Video: Reclined twist

When it comes to sticking to an appropriate bedtime, sometimes our brains and bodies just don’t want to cooperate.

Instead of just lying there trying to count sheep (or worse—checking your phone!), why not take advantage of the situation by performing a few restorative poses right in your bed to help relax and prepare you for sleep?

Here are seven restorative poses to try in bed for better sleep.

Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This hip-opening pose helps to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate, decreasing tension both in the mind and the body. You can place your arms by your side with palms up, reach your arms above your head to grab opposite elbows, or alternatively rest your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall with your breath.

Video: How to do reclined bound angle pose

Reclined Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

After a long and busy day, the back could use a good stretch to relieve built up tension. Reclined spinal twist stretches and relaxes the spine while lending a hand to digestive health by giving the abdominal muscles a soothing massage.

Video: How to do reclined spinal twist

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

One of the big perks of doing seated forward bend in bed is that you can place a couple pillows over your legs and fold over them for an extra soothing and cozy stretch! This pose stretches the spine, hamstrings, and shoulders while stimulating important organs the kidneys and liver.

Video: How to do seated forward bend

Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend (Upavistha Konasana)

Wide angle seated forward is known to have a calming effect on the brain as it stretches the insides and backs of the legs, releases tension in the groin, and strengthens the spine. Remember to keep the knee caps pointed toward the ceiling as you fold forward and consider rolling up your bedsheets to support your knees if you need to.

Video: How to do wide-angle seated forward bend

Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Even if there’s no wall on either side of your bed, you can still put your legs up the headboard to get into this pose. It induces relaxation by stimulating venous drainage, improving circulation, and soothing swollen or cramped legs and feet from standing, walking, or sitting all day.

Video: How to do legs up the wall

Thread the Needle Pose (Sucirandhrasana)

Threat the needle pose helps to release tension that builds up in the upper back and shoulders while stretching and opening the chest, arms, neck, upper back and shoulders. Doing this pose in bed will be easier on your knees and you can optionally place a pillow underneath your torso to keep yourself more upright.

Video: How to do thread the needle pose

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Of course corpse pose had to make the list. It’s the ultimate surrendering pose and arguably the hardest one of them all. If you can learn to allow your mind and body to let go of stress and tension as much as possible in this pose, however, you’ll ultimately feel more relaxed, calm, and ready for a good night’s sleep.

Video: How to do corpse pose