Twisting Yoga Poses

What are yoga twists?

A twist is a pose in where there is a rotation of the spine and torso. Twisting Poses are used to build strength in your core muscles, as well as increase the range of motion of the spine. Twists are great neutralizing poses that help to rebalance the body after a series of back bends or forward bends.

Twists penetrate deep into the core of the body to wring out toxins in the internal organs and providing them with fresh, oxygenated blood. Twisting sequences have the power to create space in the hips, spine, and shoulders. They are also great for improving muscular balance and coordination.

Practicing twists helps calm the nervous system but can also give you an energy lift through decompressing the spinal column and relaxing the muscles around the spine. Each twist has its own unique set of challenges and benefits to the body, mind and spirit.

What are the benefits of twists?

  • Strengthens and lengthens the muscles that protect your spine
  • Alleviates back pain and tension
  • Improves posture and spinal alignment
  • Calms the nervous system and clears the mind
  • Increases circulation
  • Boosts mood
  • Releases tension in the chest and opens up the lungs
  • Aids in digestion

Tips for safe yoga twists

  • Root down through your lower body and extend through the crown of the head to create space to twist.
  • Lengthen on the inhalation and twist on the exhale.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles to work in conjunction with your arms to twist the torso.
  • Relax your abdomen, ribs, and back muscles
  • Work to feel the twist and rotation through the entire spine
  • Several twists are contraindicated in pregnancy
  • Be careful if you have back pain. Consult with your physical therapist about which movements are ok for you.

List of twisting poses

Explore our index of twisting yoga poses below for step-by-step instructions, pose benefits, modifications, and Sanskrit pronunciation for these yoga twist names.


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