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Seated Spinal Twist

Ardha Matsyendrasana

This classic spinal twist is both detoxifying for the entire spine and also a deep stretch for the outer hips. A focus on twisting from a lengthened spine is essential to perform this posture optimally.

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Step By Step

  1. Come into a seated position with your hips on the ground, knees bent, and feet on the ground.
  2. Bend your left knee, so the front of your knee faces forward and your left heel is grounded just outside of your right buttocks. Take your right foot up and over to your left, so your foot is pressing down, on the outside of your left thigh.
  3. Take your right fingertips behind you with your palms of fingertips on the mat or a block behind you, to help keep your spine lifting and upright.
  4. Inhale, press your hips down to lengthen your heart and entire spine upwards and lift your left arm up.
  5. Exhale, hook your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh
  6. With each inhale, lengthen your spine more and with each exhale, twist more deeply.
  7. Continue this patten for 5-8 breaths. Come back through center and perform the pose on the other side.
Pose Name


  • Stimulates the inner organs, which promote greater detoxification processes in the body
  • Lengthens the spine
  • Stretches the outer hips and helps relieve sciatica
  • Opens the shoulders
  • Helps maintain optimal spinal health


  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain or injuries (choice to keep bottom leg extended instead of bent)
  • Shoulder pain


  • Perform the pose without hooking your elbow to the outside of the thigh, and instead hug the thigh, for a more accessible grip
  • For a more advanced variation, interlace your hands for a bind
  • Extend bottom leg for any low back pain or hip discomfort


Seated Spinal Twist activates and helps balance the Solar Plexus Chakra (Manipura), Sacral Chakra (Svadisthana), and Throat Chakra (Vishuddha). The Solar Plexus helps support confidence and digestion, the Sacral Chakra balances emotions, and the Throat Chakra helps support honesty and clear communication.