Cross Legged Seated Twist


The Cross legged seated twist, Matsyendra, is wonderful release for the back and often done at the beginning or end of a Yoga sequence. It can be done in a chair or on the floor, I have two examples of the Cross legged seated twist position for you to try.

seated-spinal-twist-618x927Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Bend your right knee with the right thigh on the floor, cross your left leg over your right thigh, and place your left foot flat on the floor next to your right knee.

Put your left hand flat on the floor behind you with the arm straight, palm down, fingers pointing away from you use a block to help lift your torso and back straighter.

Inhale and turn slightly to the left. Bend your right arm and place your right elbow on the outside of your left knee. Keep your shoulders down. Exhale and twist your spine and push your chest forward to lengthen the spine. Don’t overtwist your neck. Keep the twist the full length of the spine for full benefit. Hold. Inhale and return to starting position and repeat on the other side. If this is too difficult, keep your right leg straight and bend left leg over the right leg with the left foot flat on the floor on the outside of the right thigh. Hold the left knee with your right elbow. Place your left hand on the floor behind your back. Twist.

The Benefits of the seated twist pose

It gives the spine a nice lateral stretch, increasing spinal elasticity. Also improves side-to-side mobility; decreases backaches and hip pain; contracts and tones the liver, spleen and intestines; reduces abdominal size; improves the nervous system; prevents calcification at the base of the spine; frees the joints.

Stimulates the liver and kidneys

Energizes  the Spine

Stretches the shoulders, hips and neck

To the left is a slightly more advanced Cross legged seated twist pose, but is very comfortable for back pain, remember to sit up tall, and rotate the neck to the front and back to give the neck release as well.