How to Do Yoga Twists 

Yoga twists are energizing poses that are designed to improve the flexibility of the spine and lower back while promoting improved blood circulation.

These types of yoga movements gyrate the spine to help give it added length and also stretch the muscles of the midsection to help you maintain a reasonable range of motion. As we get older and less active we all tend to have a reduction of the range of motion in our muscles and joints.

These twisting poses can also stimulate your internal organs to better flush toxins and other unwanted waste products. 

Favorite Yoga Twist Poses 

Reclined Twist

Reclined twists are a great way to relax and stretch your spine, shoulders, and to open up your hips. This is an excellent pose to do after back bending poses like the Upward Facing Dog or the Camel Pose.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Holding both knees, bring them up to your chest.

  • Let your right leg extend straight back out on the floor and extend your left arm straight out at about shoulder height.

  • Drop your left knee and leg over the right side of your body. 

yoga twists in a yoga class

Benefits of The Reclined Twists:

  • Stretches hips and back muscles.
  • Straightens and lengthen the spine.
  • Soothes the organs in the abdominal and strengthens the core. This will help to tone your midsection and help to remove toxins.
  • Helps blood circulation to create a healthier digestive system.


Yoga twists like the half-lord-of-fishes are a familiar segment to any yoga class. The benefits they offer range from increasing the flexibility of the spine to relaxing the mind and nervous system.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by sitting on the floor with your right leg bent and the right foot facing the wall behind you.

  • Lift your left leg and cross it over the right leg placing your foot on the floor just to the right of the right knee.

  • Raise your right arm overhead as you are slowly twisting your upper body so that you are looking over your left shoulder.

  • Place your right elbow on your left knee (as pictured) with your fingertips pointing toward the ceiling. You can rest your left hand slightly behind your body on your left side.

  • With each inhale, lengthen your spine toward the ceiling. As you exhale try and twist a little further. 

  • Hold the pose for one minute before going back to your starting position and prepare to twist to the other side.
yoga twists


  • Rather than twisting all the way with one movement, try to twist half way, then stop and take a breath before twisting the other half.

  • The longer you can hold these twisting poses the better. When you bend your spine you release stress and tension.

  • Twisting poses can be more demanding for some than others. Make sure you only twist a comfortable amount for you. Over time you will be able twist your body further.

Reclining Poses

Yoga reclining poses can do wonders for your hips, back, and legs. They are also very effective for strengthening and toning your core muscles. The Hero Pose is a popular advanced yoga stretch that effectively opens the front body and can also help with ailments like asthma, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.

Another popular reclining pose is the Bow Pose which can help to improve circulation, open the rib cage, and help the lungs to increase their oxygen capacity levels.

yoga hero pose

Hero Pose

yoga bow pose

Bow Pose

Yoga Twists

Having a full range of motion in the back of your body is important for many other yoga poses. Over time, we tend to lose the full range in our legs and back from sitting at a desk job too much or by living a sedentary lifestyle. Taking the time to include the yoga twists into your yoga practice could be helpful with many life functions.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

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