How to Do Supine Spinal Twist Pose (Supta Matsyendrasana)

For a gentle yoga pose with a lot of power, try Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana). This posture promotes digestion and a healthy spine.

Ann Pizer | Posted in:Practice

Supine Spinal Twist Basics

Sanskrit Meaning: Supta (Reclined) Matsyendra (Lord of the Fishes)
Yoga Level: Beginner
Pose Type: Supine
Benefits: Stretches the back, shoulders, abdomen, and hips, improves digestion and spinal mobility.
Props: A block or a bolster under your knee can be helpful

Key Alignment Cues to Keep in Mind

It’s not always possible to keep both of your shoulders and your top knee in contact with the mat. So, which should you prioritize? Most beginners will probably choose to keep their knee down because it looks like a deeper stretch, but looks can be deceiving. When you allow your opposing shoulder to come away from the mat, you’re removing the anchor point from which the stretch originates. Instead, try keeping the backs of both shoulder in contact with the floor and either letting your knee float above the mat or taking a block underneath it for extra support. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Come to lie on your back.

2. Bend your right knee and hug it into your chest.

3. Use your left hand to draw your left knee across your midline (the Central Line in the AlignForMe system) and place it on the floor on the left side of your mat.

4. Lift your hips and bump them slightly to the right.

5. Extend your right arm straight out from your shoulder.

6. Bring your left hand on top of your right knee and exert gentle pressure downwards.

7. Turn your head and take your gaze over your right shoulder.

8. After 10 or more breaths, switch sides.

Beginners’ Tip

Supta Matsyendrasana is fairly accessible but if you can’t lie on the floor for any reason, you can do a similar twist while sitting in a chair.

Variation on Supine Spinal Twist

Eagle Legs (Twisted Root)

Take your legs into an Eagle position with the right leg on top before bringing your right knee over to your left side. 

Let’s Twist Again

Revolved poses are good for digestion and relaxation. A Supine Spinal Twist is a gentle way to revolve, making it very appropriate for a finishing pose at the end of your practice or as you prepare for rest.

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