Twisting yoga poses

Twisting yoga poses it’s when the spine rotates around its axis. Twisting asanas improve nutrition of the vertebral and intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs of the adults are deprived of their own circulatory system, and receive water and nutrients diffusely. During movement, the disk is compressed, then expanded, the liquid is squeezed out of it when compressed and absorbed during expansion. However, we don’t move enough. As a result, the disks are dehydrated which results in osteochondrosis.

Benefits of twisting yoga asanas

In twist pose, the intervertebral discs are squeezed, pushing the fluid out and excreting waste. Then, after finishing the asana, they are expanded, receiving nourishment and water, and recovering.

In addition, in the twisting yoga pose, the small muscles connecting the vertebrae are stretched. Most often they provoke spasm and pain. While stretched, they reflexively relax, and as a result it relieves a pain.

The second important effect of twisting asanas is a deep massage of the internal organs: the digestive tract, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas, pelvic organs. In twisting poses the abdomen is also compressed, in some poses, it additionally presses against the thigh. During abdominal breathing the diaphragm provides additional compression-expansion. That’s why it is very important to breathe with the stomach. It significantly changes the pressure in the abdominal cavity.

As a result, fresh blood with oxygen and nutrients enters the organs. It stimulates tissue renewal, the release of enzymes and hormones. Digestion, diuresis, and hormonal function of the adrenal glands, ovaries, and pancreas improve.

The intestines and the bile ducts stretch, and it increases peristalsis. So, twisting asanas are one of the effective means against constipation and dyskinesias of various kinds.

It is noteworthy that in twisting yoga poses soft stretching of the spine is extremely therapeutic. At the same time, if twisting too deep or with a slouching back, it can aggravate the pathology or even lead to the formation of protrusions and hernias.

The basic safety guidelines for twisting yoga poses are as follows:

  • The spine should be straight and elongated.
  • It is unacceptable (however some teachers advise that) to twist the body with the help of hands, pressing against the knee or wall; it greatly increases the risk of injury. Perform twisting only using the power of the body muscles.
  • Avoid pain and discomfort in the spine or internal organs when twisting.
  • In the lying twist poses (Jathara parivartanasana (abdominal twist, etc.) do not let the knees, or the opposite hand hung above the floor; this may overload the spine. In this case, you should put a pillow, or a yoga block under your knees or under your elbow.
  • You should practice twisting asanas carefully if you have hernias and protrusions of the spine, disorders of posture, scoliosis and chronic diseases of the organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavities. Perform mostly lying poses, and avoid any discomfort. Increase the load gradually.


With urolithiasis and cholelithiasis diseases, serious scoliosis, tumors of the abdomen organs and pelvis of any kind, especially actively growing, inflammatory processes in the same localization, pregnancy and menstruation, deep twisting asanas, especially those when the abdomen is pressed against the thigh (ex. ardha matsyendrasana) are strictly contraindicated.

Seated twists

In these positions, practitioners often experience problems due to stiff knees and hips. In this case, the pelvis is deflected backward or tilted to one side, which leads to a violation of posture and overloads the spine and internal organs.

Therefore, the first task in these positions is to sit on both pelvic bones evenly with a straight back and slightly arched lower back, without leaning on your hands. If you can not do this, simplify the posture by placing one or two “bricks”, a hard pillow, etc. under the pelvis with such a height as it is needed.

After that, you need to turn as far as possible without using your hands. You do not need to get an elbow behind the knee. It is enough to fix the position, holding the knee or the hip with the palm of your hand and having put your second hand behind your back. The back should remain straight and elongated. It is very important to breathe with the stomach, it enhances the effect on the internal organs.

Lying-down body twist asanas

In general, these poses are safer than seated twists, because the spine is in a state of decompression. It is better to start practicing twist poses with them. However, with insufficient flexibility and problems with the spine, they can also cause back pain.

Turning your legs to the side, bend them at the knees and only then straighten them in order not to overload the back muscles. Keep your back straight. If the knees or the opposite shoulder are above the floor, place a pillow, or “brick” under them. It will protect the spine from overload. Relax and breathe with abdomen.

Standing twists

These poses are mostly performed in combination with a bending (ex. Parivrtta Trikonasana). It makes the practice more difficult and requires more flexibility.

In these postures, first bend as far as possible with your back straight and put your hand on a leg, chair, or brick. And only then turn the shoulders. If the turn is not very deep, and it is inconvenient to raise up your arm, you can use a chair or a wall as a support. However, do not use the support to twist deeper.