I’ve spent the past week recovering from a nasty cold, and I’m grateful for poses like Reclined Spinal Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana) that are gentle enough to allow me to maintain my practice even when I’m not feeling physically at my best. Even better, twists massage the abdominal organs and encourage the fresh flow of blood throughout the body, stimulating the body’s natural detoxification process — imagine wringing out a sponge!
Benefits Of Reclined Spinal Twist Pose
As the name implies, Reclined Spinal Twist pose lengthens and encourages mobility along your spine, massages the internal organs, and stretches the hips, chest, shoulders and upper back. Therapeutically, the pose is both relaxing and re-energizing, and can help to relieve stress and anxiety. Reclined Spinal Twist is also a great counterpose to backbends such as Bridge (Setu Bandhasana) or Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana).
Reclined Spinal Twist Pose Step-By-Step
- Begin lying comfortably on the back. Bend your knees in to your chest and extend your arms out alongside the body in a “T” formation, with your palms facing up toward the ceiling.
- Inhale here, lengthening your tailbone down toward the ground. As you exhale, drop both of your bent knees over to the right, and send your gaze over to the left.
- Keep your knees and feet close together, and press the backs of your shoulderblades down toward the mat.
- Remain in the twist for 5-10 breaths, then inhale to come back up to centre. On your next exhale, drop your knees to the left, and send your gaze to the right.
- Inhale to come back up to centre. Wrap your arms around your legs and gently rock from side to side to release the low back, then extend both legs straight down onto the mat.
- If the knees remain quite a distance away from the ground when twisting, place a bolster or block under the bottom knee for support, or tuck a rolled up blanket or towel between the knees. If the twist feels too intense, you can also leave the bottom leg extended.
- To deepen the twist, try bringing the bent knees closer to the chest. You can also pick the hips slightly and move them closer to the centre of the mat, or take a hand onto the bent knee to gently press the knees closer to the ground.
- If there isn’t enough room to extend the arms straight, the elbows can be bent into a “cactus” formation.
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