Universal Spinal Twist : Supta Matsyendrasana or Jathara Parivartanasana

Type : Supine

Justification : twist, restorative twist

Complimentary Posture : self-complimentary



Physical Benefits :  Opens and tones the hips and shoulders. Relieves pain in the lumbar  and pelvic region. Improves hip disorders.  Relieves sciatica pain and symptoms. Lengthens and releases spinal muscles and releases lower back and hip ailments.  Re-aligns the sacrum. Improves spinal mobility.  Stretches and tones the abdomen.  Massages abdominals thus relieving constipation. Improves digestion and detoxes digestive organs.


Therapeutic Benefits : Aids in digestion and stimulates the pancreas and insulin secretion thus helping with diabetic disorders. Tones the elimative system.



Limitations :  To be avoided if you have hip injuries, lower back issues, limited range of mobility in the pelvic area, hernia, or gastro-intestinal problems..


How To Practice :


Lying on your back make sure to press the middle back and lumbar spine down into the floor. Place both arms to the sides in a cross formation keeping both shoulders relaxed and as flush to the ground as possible. On an inhale draw your knees up towards the chest and scootch the hips slightly to the right. This will help keep the alignment in the hips during the journey.  Now catch your tibias with both hands . Observe where the lower back and sacrum are in relation to the floor. Try to keep the sacrum anchored towards the floor for as long as possible while journeying through the twist.  Now slowly straighten the left leg til it’s flush along the mat and try to press the thigh towards the floor while keeping the left foot flexed and active. Now with both shoulders relaxed and in contact with the floor, catch the right knee with the left hand and start pulling it down towards the floor. If your flexibility allows for it, drop the knee and tibia to the floor but not at the expense of the shoulder flying up. If the shoulder starts lifting off the floor, come back up a little with the bent leg and re-adjust the shoulder into the ground and just hover there with the bent leg. Breathe into the posture. Keep both sides of the neck long and relaxed. And lengthen the spinal colomn. After a few moments of breathing and abandoning the abdominal region in this posture, the leg will find it’s way a bit closer to the ground. Stay for 5 breathes or longer if possible. On the inhale come back to the middle position. Draw the left leg into the chest with the right one. Breathe for 3 breaths and on the exhale let the right leg slide out to extension, right foot flexed and active. Catch the left knee with the right hand and repeat on the other side.

Phase II :

Repeat the action on both sides. Once you’ve brought your bent leg acros the torso and both shoulders are firmly anchored in to the mat turn your head to the opposite direction of the bent knees.


Tips :

If your knee is hovering far from the floor you may support it with a blanket or a block.

If it is too intense at first to keep the other leg straight you can bend both legs and rop them down together with both knees stacked together.

Yet another 'go-to 'posture for releasing an overworked or stiff back or after a series of backbends at the end of a class ! It has a wonderful digestive quality to it but it also contributes to spinal mobility and stretches the chest, obliques, and glutes.