Standing Spinal Twist

Definition - What does Standing Spinal Twist mean?

Standing spinal twist is a simple beginner yoga pose that increases flexibility and helps align the spine. To practice the pose, the yogi stands with feet comfortably apart and arms extended in front with the palms facing, then twists to one side. The arm that corresponds to the direction of the twist then reaches around the back to rest on the opposite hip, while the other arm reaches across the chest to touch the shoulder. The head turns in the direction of the twist.

The pose is also known by the Sanskrit name kati chakrasana. Another pose that is sometimes called standing spinal twist is utthita marichyasana (extended Marichi's pose) in which one leg rests on the seat of a chair and the arms are bent at the elbow and extend to either side like goal posts. The yogi then twists toward the raised leg with the opposite elbow resting outside that leg. A wall is sometimes used to assist with balance.

Yogapedia explains Standing Spinal Twist

As a spinal twist, both poses release tension from the spine and boost energy. Standing spinal twist (kati chakrasana) is particularly beneficial for those who have sedentary jobs or who work with computers. The pose has these benefits:

  • Opens the neck and shoulders
  • Strengthens the abdominal muscles
  • Stretches and strengthens the lower back
  • Relieves constipation and improves digestion
  • Stimulates the nervous system

Yogis who have a hernia, spinal disc problems or other back or abdominal problems should skip standing spinal twist. It should also not be practiced during pregnancy.

In a variation of standing spinal twist that promotes better balance, one foot is crossed over the other. The arm position can also vary in this posture.

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