How to do a Reclined Twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana)

I am breaking down how to Supine Twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana).

A reclined twist is one of the best postures for relieving stress. The twist is done lying on the back, so it can feel very safe and relaxing.

It is one of my favorite poses because the twisting helps you wring out the tension and frustrations of your day. The twisting movement helps detoxify and stimulate the organs found in the torso. This makes this posture great for restoring balance in the body.

It feels oh so good in the back and neck as well!

Here I walk you through with simple steps on how to do a reclined twist in yoga so that you get the most benefit and keep from causing injury to your body.

Note: Try not to push yourself past your limits. Be patient with yourself, and remember that practicing the pose safely is more important than looking “super flexible”. Only go as far as you can, and use props under the knees or between the knees. Talk to your doctor if you have any back pain or injuries before practicing. 

Reclined Twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Reclined Twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Why I Love This Pose

  1. Get Centered. Feeling flighty or nervous? It is my favorite posture to center in. It is a time to be still and to concentrate on your breath and awareness.
  2. Relieves stress and anxiety. Just a few minutes in this pose and I feel the worry melting away.
  3. Bye-Bye Back Pain. This posture realigns the spine. You may feel your back responding with a big “ahhhh” afterward.
  4. Digestive Health. If you had a day of overindulgences or have been off track in your health journey, this pose will rev up up your digestive system.
  5. Toned Abs. This pose strengthens the abdominal muscles without having to do a million crunches, plus it feels great on the tummy. Toned abs, without pain- sign me up!

Benefits of a Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)   

  1. Lengthens the spine.
  2. Relaxes the spinal muscles.
  3. Hydrates the spinal disks.
  4. Strengthens the abdominal muscles.
  5. Stimulates the organs in the torso.
  6. Detoxifies the body.
  7. Stimulates the digestive system.
  8. Gently massage the back and hips.

How to do a Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)   

  1. Begin lying on your back with the knees bent and the soles of your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Extend your arms out on the floor at shoulder height.
  3. Lift the heels off the mat, keeping the ankles in line with the knees and the knees in line with the hips.
  4. Wrap the right leg over the left once or gently wrapping the ankle behind the left leg.
  5. Lower your legs to the left side, twisting your spine
  6. Gently tuck the left hip r under the top hip, so hips are stacked.
  7. Turn your head away from the legs as you soften your gaze.
  8. Hold here for 10-25 big deep breaths.
  9. Then repeat on the opposite side.

How to Modify Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)   

  1. Do not cross the legs – Lift the heels off the mat, keeping the ankles in line with the knees and the knees in line with the hips.
  2. Lower your legs to one side, twisting your spine and stacking the legs on top of one another.
  3. Add a blanket under the knees for added support.
  4. Add a black between the knees for support.
modified reclined twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana).
modified reclined twist in Yoga (Supta Matsyendrasana).

This pose is a great way to get a lot of health benefits while relaxing and taking time to turn inward. Do this pose at the end of a long day, for relief of tension, back pain and to get a nice stretch.

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I also have more posts on postures. For example, check out this post, which breaks down how to do a standing forward fold (Uttanasana). Standing forward fold is a highly underrated posture and is commonly performed unsafely.

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