Simple Twist Poses

Alleviate pain or stiffness in your lower back, spine and hips with these simple yoga poses suitable for anyone.

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Photographer: David Niddrie

Pictured: Two Knee Spinal Twist. Photographer: David Niddrie

Cycling and Yoga are great forms of exercise for both your body and mind. They help reduce stress, improve coordination, strengthen and lengthen muscles, and calm the mind. After a long bike ride or sitting with your back in the same position, practicing these twists can alleviate pain or stiffness in your lower back, spine, and hips as well as improve breathing and digestion. Twist poses range from simple to complex but can be done by just about anyone. Even looking back while on your bike is a twist.

Two Knee Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet comfortably on the floor. Bring both arms out to the side to form a “T” with palms on the floor. Keeping your legs bent, slowly lower your legs to the left, with the left leg resting on the floor and the right leg on top of it. Gaze to the right, away from your knees. Repeat on the other side.

Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Begin by sitting straight and stretching your legs out in front of you. Bend the left leg and place the left foot over the right knee and on the ground. Bend the right leg and fold it so that it is resting on the ground with the right heel near the left buttock. Lengthen your spine as you inhale and then turn your upper body left as you exhale. Place your left hand behind you on the ground and cross your right elbow over the left knee. Breathe normally and hold this posture for 20 to 30 seconds. With practice you can hold this posture for 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure to do both sides, twisting in the opposite direction as well to balance out the body.

Photograph: David Niddrie

Photograph: David Niddrie

Spinal Twist with a Bind (Advanced)
Bring your right arm under your left leg and wrap your left arm around your back to grab your fingers together. This more advanced posture gives an extra stretch into the shoulders as well as a deeper twist.

 Twist on a Bike
A stop at a red light during your ride can be a good time for a twist. Lengthen your spine as you inhale and then twist to one side, looking behind you as you exhale. Hold for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.

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