Seated Spinal Twist Benefits & How to Get Them

seated spinal twist
Seated Spinal Twist

Seated Spinal Twist is a modification of Ardha Matsyendrasana, or the Half Lord of the Fishes pose. This asana releases energy from deep within the body.

Benefits of the Seated Spinal Twist

Twists awaken the fire of kundalini. The pose is named after the ancient yoga teacher Matsyendra, one of many mentioned in the Yoga Sutras.

Benefits of Seated Spinal Twist include:

  • Improves digestion and the processing of the liver and kidneys
  • Relieves backaches, sciatica, and menstrual discomfort
  • Stretches the upper body

Step into the Pose

spinal twist

To perform Seated Spinal Twist

  1. Sit on a folded blanket, legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Inhale and draw your knees up close to the chest, both feet on the floor.
  3. Drop your left leg down, resting the foot against the right buttock.
  4. Lift your right leg and place it over your left leg, knee toward the ceiling, right ankle by the left knee.
  5. Draw the right leg toward the body. Do this to whatever degree of comfort your body allows.
  6. Inhale, and then on an exhale, bring the left elbow to the outside of the right knee as you twist toward the right.
  7. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, breathing slow and deep. Repeat on the other side.

If you have back trouble or a spine injury, consult with a yoga instructor before performing this pose.


Sitting on a folded blanket releases the hips. Also, if you can't place your elbow on the outside of the knee, don't worry - just wrap your arm around your knee. Continued practice will increase flexibility.


More limber yogis can advance to the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose.

Seated Spinal Twist Benefits & How to Get Them