One of my favorite things about yoga is that the practice is truly never ending. There are seemingly countless shapes and styles to choose from, which keeps it fresh, fun, and exciting….even if you’ve been practicing for over two decades, like I have.
I don’t know about you, but I can definitely go in phases of loving a certain kind of yoga pose. Like maybe I’m in a big inversion phase, and I’m always upside down. Or maybe I’m in a backbend phase, and I’m always opening my heart.
But the truth is, it’s good to consistently be changing up the kinds of yoga poses that you do, because the body works together. So, even if you’re loving inversions or backbends, that doesn’t mean that your body won’t also benefit from adding something like twisting into your practice.
In fact, changing up the kind of poses you gravitate towards can not only keep your practicing more interesting, but also help to prevent injuries, by improving flexibility, strength, and mobility in all parts of the body.
Regardless of what phase you’re in with your yoga practice, my invitation for you today is to sprinkle in some twisting yoga poses in to provide yourself with a more well-rounded experience.
Today’s post will share a roundup of 10 of my favorite twisting yoga poses that you can start adding into your yoga practice today.
Learn about backbends with me!
Learn How To Handstand with me.
Practice your Journey To Splits with me.
Twisting Yoga Poses
Twists in yoga can be everything from a gentle twist on the back, to a more complicated spinal twist while standing one foot.
To put it simply, twists in yoga involve length in the spine while you rotate the torso. Ideally, the shoulders and hips and moving in opposite directions so that that twist is coming from your center, and so that you’re able to feel a deeper sensation.
Yoga twists are unique in that they really involve the entire body in order to practice them effectively. These poses can really help to deepen your backbend practice, or improve your inversion practice by opening the chest, and activating the core.
Plus, twisting poses can also help you on your journey to splits by creating space in the hips, and turning up sensation in the hip flexors.
The great news is that yoga twists come in all shapes, sizes and skill levels. That means you don’t necessarily need to be super advanced in order to reap all of the benefits of twisting poses.
Check out my guide for beginner yoga poses.
Try these intermediate yoga poses.
Check out these advanced backbends.
Benefits Of Twists In Yoga
- Increasing flexibility in the shoulders.
- Creates space across the chest.
- Improves length in the spine.
- Creates space between the vertebrates.
- More space in the hips.
- Core activation.
- Improves digestion.
- Soothes the nervous system.
- Boost circulation.
- Increases blood flow.
10 Best Yoga Twists
You’re ready to add twists to your yoga practice, aren’t you? Or, at the very least, you can add them to a gentle stretch routine when you wake up, or when you wind down before bed.
I’m telling you, whether you’re doing a seated twist, a standing twist, or a fully reclined twist…you will feel all of the delicious benefits these yoga poses have to offer.
Supine Twist is the perfect pose to add to your wake up and wind down routine, because you can literally do it in bed.
Feel free to bend your knees, rather than keeping your bottom leg straight if you want to back off with sensation. Remember to keep both shoulders glued to the ground, so that your chest is open, and the twist comes from your center.
This pose is the perfect shape to wake up the spine, chest, and shoulders in a really gentle way. It’s also a great pose to add to the end of your yoga practice, as well.
Seated Spinal Twist
Seated Spinal Twists can also be done just about anywhere, and don’t require a warm up. In fact, these poses often are the warm up postures you’ll see at the beginning of a class.
Make sure your sitting bones stay grounded, as one side might want to lift as you twist to the opposite side. Remember to twist to the right first, and then the left.
Standing Open Twist
I love to add Standing Open Twists into my twisty yoga classes as a more active warm up than a Supine Twist or Seated Twist.
Because you’ll be twisting to the right first, you’ll notice that your hips want to pull over the right side to follow the right arm behind you. Try to resist that urge by directly both of your hip pointers forward, instead.
Half Lord Of The Fishes Twist
Half Lord Of The Fishes pose (otherwise known as the pose ardha matsyendrasana in Sanskrit)
is a deeper seated twist option after you’ve already warmed up a bit. There are also several variations of this pose that can help you to modify, as well as turn up the heat.
When you twist to the right first, that means your left leg and left elbow will hook in order to help take you deeper in the twist. Remember to continue to sit up nice and tall, rather than slouching over to achieve the hook of the elbow and leg.
Easy Twist is something you’ll see in just about all of my classes, because it’s a versatile, accessible shape that truly works the entire body in a gentle yet effective manner.
As you twist first to the right side, that means your right foot is planted in front of you, and your left foot is planted towards the back of the mat with the toes tucked. Although there’s a lot going on with the front leg and upper body, don’t forget to maintain the integrity of your left leg by pressing the left heel back behind you.
Revolved Crescent is definitely a shape you’ll want a bit of a warm up for before you just jump into it. Easy twist is a great preparatory shape for this posture, but you can also modify it by keeping the back knee grounded.
If you’d like to take the twist even deeper, then you can spread your wings by extending both arms towards straight. For even more, feel free to try on a half or a full bind.
Prayer Twist is a fun way to spice up your chair pose by bringing more attention to the upper body, rather than only focusing on the lower body.
You’ve probably heard your yoga teacher tell you to look down at your knees to make sure they’re in one line as you twist here, right? That’s because we want the twist to come from the middle and upper back, and the alignment of the knees will also indicate the alignment of the hips.
I have to say, I’m a much bigger fan of Revolved Pyramid pose rather than Revolved Triangle pose. How about you?
Revolved Pyramid focuses more on lengthening the hamstrings than the hips, so if you’re tight in the back of your legs then remember to bring your left hand onto a block in order to make your twist to the right more accessible.
Standing Figure Four Twist
Okay, I know I’ve said just about every one of these poses is my favorite for one reason or another so far…I’m serious when I say Standing Figure Four Twist is a true fave, ok. It just hits all the right spots, I swear.
It’s important here that you remember to keep flexing your foot as you twist in order to protect your knee. It’s also helpful to press your left hand deeply into your right palm in order to deepen the twist from the midline.
Seated Compass is certainly the most advanced pose on this list, but that doesn’t mean that it can only be attempted by advanced yogis. Just make sure you warm up your hips, hamstrings, shoulders, and chest first before you try it.
Don’t forget that you can always grab your strap to hook around your top foot and your opposite hand in order to achieve the posture with more ease. The more space you have between your hand and foot, the more accessible the corkscrewing motion of the chest will be.
Let me know which twisting yoga pose was your favorite in the comments below!