Reclined Spinal Twist and Shoulder Opener (Supta Matsyendrasana)

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This is a beautiful pose if you are willing to let go of ego and just allow yourself the freedom to gently drift into the space and freedom of the pose.  Focus on your breath to release and let go of tension, negative thoughts and just allow yourself to surrender completely to gravity.  Remember, we are building happy memories within the muscles so please travel mindfully into the pose and be just as mindful exiting it.

There are numerous benefits to this pose namely:

  • This is a great pose to open the chest area, shoulders and hips
  • It relieves neck pain, lower back pain and sciatica
  • It stretches the spine and shoulders
  • Improves digestion and circulation
  • Improves spine and back muscle flexibility
  • Strengthens the lower back
  • I have had great results with clients who suffer from tension related migraines and who practice this pose daily


Getting into the pose:

Lie on your back and just take a minute or two to check in with yourself and how you’re feeling in this present moment.  Be honest and remember you are being non-judgemental and non-critical but acknowledging how you truly feel right here and now.  Breathe and allow yourself the freedom  to relax.

Ensure that the center of the back of your head is pressing gently into the floor and there is length to the back of your neck and spine.  If you find your chin is sticking up into the air you may need to modify this position by gently placing a folded blanket or soft pillow under your head to protect your neck.

Then gently place the sole of your right foot onto the knee of your left leg and roll completely onto your left side.  Everything from your left ear to the left ankle is pressing into the floor and your right knee is completely on the ground.  Place your left hand onto your right knee or thigh anchoring the foot to the floor completely.  If there is tightness or restriction to the shoulders or spine over reaching may cause this knee to lift, we don’t want that.

Raise your right hand up to 12 o’clock, palm facing in the same direction as your face.  Bring your focus back onto your breath inhale and exhale deeply and slowly and allow yourself to let go… On an out breath slowly allow your right hand to drop gently and mindfully away towards the floor as you allow your head to turn following the direction of your hand.

On each exhalation soften and release into the pose.  Remember we’re looking for that relaxing “aaaahh” moment.  You get this when the candles are lit, soft music is playing and the outside world is firmly locked outside your bathroom door and you step gently into the warm inviting sensual bubble bath.  Surrender completely…..

Do NOT force your arm to the floor (remember that is the ego at work).  Work with your breath to release your shoulders and gently ease your way into the twist.  Breathe and relax, find your freedom and space within the pose.   Release and relax deeper into the pose with each breath that you take.  Allow the Buddha belly as you breathe in and as you exhale take your belly button back to your spine exhaling completely.   Enjoy the moment, feel yourself surrendering to gravity, to peace and tranquility. Hold the pose for a comfortable length of time, remember be mindful and listen to your body, your body will dictate how long you will remain in the pose, breathe.

Exiting the pose:

On an inhalation, slowly bring your right arm back up to 12 o’clock and as you exhale gently and mindfully lower your arm back onto your right hip.  Roll gently back onto your spine and notice the difference between both sides of your body.

How do you feel?  Do you notice any difference in your body?  Is there any difference between the right and left shoulder?  Is there any difference between the right and left side of the spine?  Do you notice any difference between the right and left hip?  Breathe…..

When you feel guided to, repeat to the other side, bringing your body back into balance.

Roll back once more onto your back and gently draw both knees up over your chest, then roll from side to side.  Release the legs and relax and observe how your body feels.

Om shanti