This simple but powerful pose can provide dozens of benefits to yogis of all levels. Here’s why Supine Spinal Twist Pose is so awesome, and how to do it…
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.
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 out of 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 YogaOutlet.com:
- 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.
- On an exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. This is Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Exhale, and extend your right leg along the floor. Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.
- 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.