Revolved or Twisted Hand-to-Big Toe Pose.

Get Twisted With These 6 Yoga Poses

Leah Sugerman, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Updated: 
July 27, 2022

Twisting yoga poses are challenging, fun, and invigorating. They effectively create compression, tension, bending, twisting, and shear forces throughout the body and offer sweet release when unwound. 

Twists are an excellent way to target multiple tissues throughout the body. They also offer a chance to explore expansive breathwork within constriction and often challenge balance and stability. This super fun class of postures has so many benefits for both the body and mind. And there are so many fun twisting yoga poses that you can bring into your practice. 

Get Twisted With These 6 Twisting Yoga Poses

Grab your favorite supportive props and prepare to twist things up a bit with these six poses.

1. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Revolved Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or Revolved Ardha Matsyendrasana.This seated twisting yoga pose offers stability in your seat, allowing you to rotate further in your torso.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs extended forward in front of you. Option to elevate your hips by sitting up onto a block, bolster, pillow, or blanket.

  2. Bend your right knee and plant your foot on the floor. Cross your right foot over your left leg and ground it on the outer edge of your left knee.

  3. You can keep your left leg extended long or bend your left knee and draw your left heel toward your outer right hip.

  4. Plant your right palm or fingertips behind your right hip and ground down against the floor to lift and lengthen your spine toward the sky.

  5. Inhale and grow even taller through your spine. 

  6. As you exhale, spiral and twist your torso toward the right side of your mat. 

  7. Either hold your right shin with your left forearm or hook your left elbow over your right thigh. 

  8. With each breath in, grow a little bit taller. With each breath out, spiral a little bit deeper into the twist. 

  9. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

2. Revolved Lunge Pose (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)

Revolved Lunge Pose (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)This gentle twist adds a spin on a classic Low Lunge Pose to bring some mobility into your spinal column.

  1. Start in a Low Lunge Pose with your right leg forward. Soften the weight of your hips toward the floor and energetically scissor your legs toward each other.

  2. Ground your left fingertips or palm onto a prop or the floor. 

  3. Lengthen your tailbone and the crown of your head in opposite directions to elongate your whole spine.

  4. Spin your chest open toward the right side of your mat and sweep your right arm toward the sky. 

  5. Continue to relax your hips toward the floor as you peel open your chest.

  6. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

3. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana) Revolved or Twisted Chair Pose.

Chair Pose offers an excellent challenge to your legs and Revolved Chair Pose offers even more of a challenge as you add a twist to this familiar shape.

  1. Start in a classic Chair Pose with your feet either together or roughly hips-distance apart. Sink the weight of your hips toward the floor as you bend your knees deeply. Squeeze your legs toward each other.

  2. Draw your palms to meet at your heart.

  3. Release the weight of your sitting bones toward the earth and stretch the crown of your head toward the sky.

  4. Keep this length in your spine as you slowly twist your torso toward the right side of your mat. 

  5. With every inhalation, grow a little taller through your spine. With every exhalation, spin your chest more open toward the right. 

  6. Option to stay as you are or hook your left elbow over your right thigh. 

  7. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

4. Revolved Triangle Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)

Twisted Triangle Pose also known as Revolved Triangle Pose or (Parivrtta Trikonasana)This twisting yoga pose plays off of the classic Triangle Pose but it offers some noticeable differences, like forward-facing hips and a shortened stance, which allows you to rotate your torso even deeper into the twist.

  1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with your feet roughly hips-distance apart and your hands on your hips.

  2. Take a big step back with your left foot and turn your toes out slightly so that you can ground your left heel to the floor.

  3. Root firmly against both feet to straighten your legs as much as possible. Energetically, scissor your legs toward each other to roughly point your hips forward toward the top of your mat.

  4. Elongate your whole spine, and then, hinge from your hips and lean your torso forward to be roughly parallel with the floor. Feel free to bend your knees as much as you’d like.

  5. Keep the length in your spine as you release your left fingertips or palm to a prop or the floor beneath your left shoulder.

  6. Spin your chest open toward the right side of your mat. Option to stretch your right arm up toward the sky.

  7. Maintain the activation in your legs and the length of your spine.

  8. Option to stay as you are or move your left hand across your right leg toward the pinky side of your right foot if you can do so without compressing your front body and inhibiting your breathing.

  9. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

5. Revolved Hand-to-Big Toe Pose (Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana)

Revolved or Twisted Hand-to-Big Toe Pose.This challenging twisting yoga pose incorporates strength, mobility, and balance.

  1. Start in a strong, stable Mountain Pose with your feet roughly hips-distance apart and your hands on your hips.

  2. Focus your eyes onto one, non-moving point in front of you and keep your gaze locked.

  3. Shift your weight into your left leg and float your right foot off the floor.

  4. Draw your right knee to your chest and hold onto the outside of your right shin with your left hand.

  5. Option to stay as you are or extend your right leg out forward in front of you. You may wish to loop a strap around the ball of your right foot and hold onto the strap with your left hand. Or you can hold onto the pinky side of your right foot with your left hand.

  6. Wherever you choose to hold, ground down into your standing leg and elongate your spine toward the sky.

  7. Spiral and twist your whole torso toward the right side of your mat. Option to reach your right arm behind you to reach toward the back of your mat. Kick forward and reach back with equal and opposite energy to stabilize your balance.

  8. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

6. Side Crow Pose (Parsva Bakasana)

Side Crow Pose also known as Parsva Bakasana. This challenging arm balance isn’t often thought of as a twisting yoga pose, but this shape requires a deep twist within the torso to effectively balance.

  1. Start in a Revolved Chair Pose twisting toward the right side of your mat (as described above).

  2. Bend your knees deeply, lift your heels from the floor, and sink down into a squat.

  3. Maintain the twist you created in your torso and release your hands either onto blocks or the floor roughly shoulders-distance apart on the right side of your mat.

  4. Spread your fingers wide and press down evenly into the perimeter of your palms. Gently grip the mat with your fingertips.

  5. Bend your elbows deeply to create a “shelf” with your arms. 

  6. Lean your weight forward so that you can rest your right hip and your right knee on top of the “shelf” that your arms are creating. Option to allow your right hip to float off your arms or keep it resting on top. 

  7. Continue to lean your weight forward and ground down firmly into your palms. Squeeze your elbows and your legs together.

  8. Option to stay as you are or lean your weight so far forward that your legs naturally become light and lift from the floor.

  9. Hold for a few long, deep breaths before releasing and switching sides.

Spice Up Your Practice With These Fun Twisting Yoga Poses

Twists add a special spice to your practice that makes it exciting and invigorating! So add these six twists or any of your other favorite twisting yoga poses to your practice to get a little bit twisted on the mat!

 

Barrie Risman, Nina Zolotow, YogaUOnline continuing education, Yoga for anxiety

 

Leah SugermanLeah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless schools and traditions of the practice. She teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied, emphasizing breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings, both internationally and online. For more information, visit www.leahsugerman.com.