Pose Directory > STANDING

Reclining Spinal Twist

Supta Matsyendrasana



To enter Reclining Spinal Twist pose, lie on the floor in Corpse pose. Raise your knees so the soles of the feet are on the mat. Bring the knees into the chest and hold them with the hands. Inhale and extend the left leg so it is lying on the mat. Exhaling and guiding the right knee with the left hand, slowly bring the right knee toward the mat on the left side of the body. Extend the right arm out to the right side of the body and gently turn the head to gaze over the right fingertips. Strive to rest the right shoulder on the mat. After holding for the desired length of time, bring the right knee into the chest while centering on the spine. Raise the left knee so both knees are held by the hands. Extend the right leg and repeat the pose with the left knee. To exit the pose, center on the spine, bring both knees to the chest and then lower the feet to the mat.



Imagine that a weight is laid upon the shoulder of the extended arm and the knee of the bent leg. While exhaling, release the muscles while envisioning this.


The shoulder of the extended arm should be resting on the mat or supported by a blanket. Both shoulders should be down and away from the ears.

  • Relaxes and lengthens the spine.
  • Stimulates and massages internal organs to stimulate proper functioning.
  • Stretches the gluteal muscles.
  • Back strain.
  • Pain in neck while gazing toward extended arm.
  • Knee pain.
  • Recent back or knee injury/surgery.
  • Hip pain.
  • Back pain or disc disorders.
  • Place blankets under the shoulder of the extended arm and/or bent knee.
  • Prop your bent knee and ankle with a block.
  • Practice gently pulling the knee into the chest and then toward the opposite shoulder before twisting the torso.
  • Twist with both legs bent at the same time.
  •  Twist the legs as in Eagle pose before bringing over to one side.
  • Practice with a straight leg crossing the body.
  • Knee(s) to chest.
  • Happy Baby.
  • Child’s pose.

Written By: Kristen Porter

Kristen Porter is a Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher, studio owner (www.ovcyoga.com)


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