Spinal Twist Asanas

By on May 5, 2015
spinal t


The few asanas in this section supplement the backward and forward bending asanas. Every asana program should include at least one asana from this group, preferably following the practice of the forward and backward bending asanas, as they remove tension in the back. The twist imposed on the spine and the whole trunk beneficially exercises the associated muscles, provides flexibility to the spinal column and stimulates the spinal nerves. It also has a strong influence on the abdominal organs, by alternately stretching and compressing them as the body is twisted first in one direction and then in the other.

Beginners must be careful not to twist the trunk more than the flexibility of the muscles will comfortably allow. After some weeks of regular practice the muscles will gradually accommodate a more accentuated twist. All that is needed is patience and perseverance on the part of the practitioner. The small effort that is required will be more than compensated for by improved health and vitality.













Exercise-98: Ardha matsyendrasana (The half spinal twist pose)

  • Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
  • Place the right foot flat on the floor outside the left knee.
  • Bend the left leg to the right and place the left heel against the right hip.
  • Place the left arm outside the right leg, and with the left hand hold the right foot or ankle.
  • The right knee should be as near as possible to the left armpit.
  • Turn the body to the right, placing the right arm behind the back.
  • Twist the back and then the neck as far as possible without strain.
  • Remain in the final pose for a short time and then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Change the legs and repeat to the other side.

Simplified version for beginners-

  • People with very stiff bodies who cannot do ardha matsyendrasana should place the leg that is folded under the hips straight in front of the body.
  • The technique thereafter is the same as the basic form.
  • As soon as the body becomes more supple they should discontinue this simple variation and attempt the full asana.


  • Exhale while twisting the trunk.
  • Breathe as deeply as possible without strain in the final pose.
  • Inhale while returning to the starting position.

When the spinal muscles are sufficiently flexible, try to maintain the pose for at least a minute on each side of the body.
On the respiration in the final pose.

  • Tones the spinal nerves, makes the back muscles supple and loosens the vertebrae.
  • Massages the abdominal organs, thereby removing digestive ailments.
  • Helps regulate the secretion of adrenaline from the adrenal glands.
  • Activates the pancreas and is therefore useful in eliminating diabetes.
  • Helps to relieve lumbago and muscular rheumatism.
  • Tones the large number of nerves that arise in the region of the back.
  • Influences a large proportion of the nerves connectingthe brain to the
  • whole body, rendering the nervous system more efficient and healthy.
  • Very useful for mild cases of slipped disc.

This important asana should be practiced at least once every day. It is a simplification of poorna matsyendrasana.












Execise-99: Parivritti janu sirshasana (The spiraling head to knee pose)

  • Sit with the legs straight in front of the body.
  • Bend the left leg and place the heel against the perineum.
  • Bend forward, incline the trunk to the right and hold the right foot with the right hand.
  • The fingers should be in contact with the instep, with the thumb on top of the foot.
  • Place the elbow on the inside of the straight leg.
  • Bring the left arm over the head and hold the right toes.
  • Tighten the arms and pull the right shoulder toward the foot.
  • Try to ease the head under the left arm and twist the trunk as much as is comfortably possible.
  • Look towards the ceiling.
  • Do not strain the back.


  • Exhale while pulling the body sideways.
  • Breathe normally in the final pose.

Not recommended for people with back problems or for pregnant women.

  • Gives the same benefits as paschimottanasana, with the added advantage that each side of the abdomen and chest (the thoracic cage including the lungs) is stretched and then ‘compressed.
  • Duplicates the benefits of ardha matsyendrasana.













Exercise-100:Meru wakrasana (The simple twist)

  • Sit with the legs stretched straight in front.
  • Place the hands slightly behind and to the side of the buttocks with the fingers pointing backwards.
  • Put the left hand beside the right hand.
  • Place the left foot outside the right knee.
  • Move the right hand slightly backward.
  • Twist the head and trunk as far to the right as possible.
  • Re-center the trunk and then twist it again.
  • Practice a maximum of 10 twists to each side.


  • Inhale before twisting.
  • Retain your breath while twisting.
  • Exhale after re-centering.

On relaxation of the back muscles.

  • This asana is a preparatory pose for ardha matsyendrasana.
  • It stretches the spinal cord and is also very useful for removing backache.














Exercise-101: Bhu namanasana (The spinal twist and prostration pose)

  • Sit with the spine erect and the legs stretched forward.
  • Place both hands by the side of the hip.
  • Twist the torso 90 degrees to the left, then bend the upper body and touch the nose to the ground.
  • The hips should not rise off the floor.
  • Straighten the trunk and return to the forward facing position.


  • Inhale while facing forward and while raising the trunk.
  • Exhale while bending.

Practice a maximum of 10 times on each side.
On relaxation of the back muscles or the breath.
This asana stretches the spine and lower back, making the muscles supple and stimulating the spinal nerves.

About Sharat S.

To keep my friends and readers Healthy, I love to write and share articles on Fruits, Vegetables, Yoga Exercise and more. Importantly, I always promote natural remedies to keep your body healthy.


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