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How to Do a Seated Spinal Twist Pose

According to Hindu mythology, this pose was originated by a yogi who spent 12 years in the belly of a fish, eavesdropping on Shiva's secret yoga instructions in an ocean cave. All you have to do is sit on a mat.


  • Step 1: Sit on heels Sit on your heels with your back straight.
  • Step 2: Shift butt Shift your butt to the left, keeping your knees bent, so you're seated on the mat just to the left of your feet.
  • Step 3: Raise left knee Raise your left knee up so your right foot is flat on the floor, and slide it to the outside of your left knee.
  • TIP: If this position is difficult, extend your left leg so that it is straight out in front of you rather than bent to the right.
  • Step 4: Twist torso Twist your torso to the right, placing your right hand, palm-down, on the mat close behind your right hip.
  • TIP: Make sure your hand is not far away from your body, as this will make you lean back. Your spine should be as upright and erect as possible.
  • Step 5: Raise left arm While still twisted, raise your left arm straight up.
  • Step 6: Lower left arm Lower your left arm so the elbow is on the outside of the right knee, keeping your elbow bent up or reaching down to hold your right ankle.
  • Step 7: Turn body Turn as far as you can without causing unwanted stress in the knees, spine, neck and shoulders. Look into the twist, but make sure your neck does not begin to tighten up.
  • Step 8: Hold pose Hold the pose for at least 5 smooth and even breaths.
  • Step 9: Release pose Release the pose by removing your left elbow from your right knee and releasing your twist.
  • Step 10: Repeat on left side Repeat on the left side, sitting just to the right of your feet and moving your left foot to the outside of your right knee, holding the pose for the same number of breaths as you did on the right side.
  • Step 11: Release pose Release the pose by removing your right elbow from your left knee and releasing your twist. Wasn't that easier than holing up in a fish belly?
  • FACT: Matsyendra, the yogi who is said to have originated this pose, is believed to have been an actual historical person, born in Bengal in the 10th century—but the fish he lived in has not yet been identified.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothing suitable for stretching and moving
  • A calm place where you won't be distracted or disturbed
  • A yoga mat or folded blanket

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