The Spinal Twist Yoga Pose, which takes its Sanskrit name from the great Yogic Sage Matsyendra, is one of the few Yoga Poses in the Basic Session that rotates the spine. Most bend the spinal column either backward or forward, but to become truly flexible it must be twisted laterally as well. The movement also tones the spinal nerves and ligaments, and improves digestion. Keep your spine erect and your shoulders leveled in the position. Breathe steadily. Twist a little more each time you exhale. Twist first to the left, as below, then repeat the sequence twisting to the right.
STEP 1: Kneel and sit on your feet with your heels pointing outward.
STEP 2: Then sit to the right of your feet, as illustrated.
STEP 3: Lift your left leg over your right, placing the foot against the outside of the right knee. Bring your right heel in close to your buttocks. Keep the spine erect.
Stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder level, and twist around to the left.
Now bring the right arm down on the outside of the left knee and hold your left foot with your right hand, placing your left hand on the floor behind you. As you exhale, twist as far as possible to the left. Look over the left shoulder.
The Half-Spinal Twist or Ardha Matsyendrasana prepares the body for the full Yoga Posture. It is advisable to practice this pose under the supervision of a Yoga instructor.