Stiff backs and poor posture are best corrected by twisting yoga poses. A category of yoga postures which has a strong impact on the decompressing and lengthening the spine, twisting yoga poses improve strength and flexibility in the spine.
Very often today thanks to sedentary lifestyles and hours spent behind a laptop many of us find ourselves waking up with back aches, stiffness and unreleased tension in the body. Weight gain is also a common problem as a result of this lifestyle. Twisting yoga poses squeeze the abdominal muscles, massage the organs and help reduce fat from the sides of the waist. Practicing these poses regularly is, thus, beneficial to both the back and abdominal region (also aiding digestion). Twisting yoga poses are also beneficial in calming the nervous system, releasing stress and opening up the chest region. Blood circulation and oxygen supply improves, boosting energy. Let’s look at beginner-friendly twisting yoga poses to practice regularly.
5 Twisting Beginner-friendly Yoga Poses
Twisted Easy Pose
An easy asana to start with, by twisting in Sukhasana the back and sides of the waist get stretched, relieving stiffness. This is a beneficial asana to include in your warm-ups.
How to do Parivrtta Sukhasana
- Sit comfortably in the Easy pose or Sukhasana.
- Keeping the back straight, bring your right hand to your left knee.
- Now raise the left hand to shoulder level, lift the arm up and over the head. Turn and drop it down behind you, placing the hand next to your hip.
- Turn and look over the left shoulder. Gaze at a point far to the left.
- Stay here for a few deep breaths.
- Gently release, come back to the front and repeat on the other side.
Easy Spinal Twist Pose
The simpler version of Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half-lord of the fishes poses), the easy spinal twist presses the thigh into the abdomen, squeezing and massaging the abdominal organs. The twist in the spine releases stiffness and tightness from the back.
How to do Vakrasana
- Sit on the mat with your legs extended forward. Keep the hands on the sides of the body.
- Fold the left leg at the knee. Place your left foot near the right knee on the ground. Now place your left hand on the back of your left hip, away from the spine.
- Place your right hand on the opposite side of your left knee.
- Now turn your back, look behind, and look up.
- Keep breathing normally while holding the posture.
- After a few breaths, slowly come back to the starting position. Repeat this with the other leg.
Thread the Needle pose
This asana is a combination of a forward bend and a twist. It stretches and strengthens the arms, shoulders, neck, chest, rib cage, abdomen, back, and pelvis. It also massages and stimulates the internal abdominal organs. The posture is relaxing and calming, relieving fatigue and tired muscles.
How to do Urdhva Mukha Pasasana
- Come into the thread the puppy posture (Uttana Shishosana) first.
- From here, gently take your right hand to the left side from below your left hand. Bring your right ear close to the mat (or on the mat), and look towards the right palm.
- Your left hand should remain in place.
- Keep breathing here for a few long breaths.
- Now come back to the puppy pose and repeat this with the left hand.
Twisted Chair Pose
The twisted chair pose massages the abdominal organs, aiding digestion. The posture strengthens the back muscles, knees and legs, improving strength and balance. Parivrtta Utkatasana also helps relieve back pain and improves overall spinal health.
How to do Parivrtta Utkatasana
- Stand straight with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart.
- Stretch the hands out with the palms facing downwards.
- Now gently bend the knees and push the pelvis down as if you were sitting on a chair.
- Turn from your shoulders to the right side without moving your hips or knees. Place your left elbow on your right knee and bend your chest towards the right.
- Press your both hands into each other for better stability.
- Take deep breaths and hold still. Gaze in front of you.
- To come out of the posture, exhale, press the feet down, turn to the center and slowly straighten the legs. Bring the arms down and come into Tadasana.
Supine Spinal Twist Pose
Often practiced during cool-downs, the supine spinal twist is immensely relaxing. It stretches the glutes, chest, and obliques. It helps improve spinal mobility and flexibility, while aiding digestion. The posture is an impactful counterpose to sitting at a desk all day or too much forward bending over a phone or laptop.
How to do Supta Matsyendrasana
- Lie down on your back. Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing up toward the ceiling.
- Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right. Exhale and draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor.
- 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 like.
- 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.
- Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. As you exhale, release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor. After staying here for a few breaths, release the posture and repeat on the other side.
It is recommended beginners learn how to practice these poses under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher. However, once you have learnt to practice, you can do these simple poses at the end of a long day, while traveling or when you just have 5-10 minutes for a quick stretch.
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