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Many yoga classes finish with a reclining twist, and for good reason: Twisting on the floor allows you to release deeply into the pose, stretching hips, spine, and chest more passively than in seated twists. Here’s a new approach to add to your post-workout home repertoire: twisting belly down, instead of from your back. You’ll get a different approach to the hip stretch and can customize the degree of release in your chest. This pose is especially good for building and maintaining a fluid range of motion in rotational sports like tennis and golf.
Start from hands and knees. Walk both knees to the right side of your mat and drop to your outer left hip. Here you’ll make your first choice: You can keep your knees stacked, or let your right knee slide to the right. Base your choice on what feels better for you; if you have low-back issues, it can feel better to let your legs spread some.
Walk your right hand to the center of your mat, and step your left hand off the left side of the mat. Push into your hands and lengthen your spine. Here, make another choice: how long to stay in this stage of the twist. You may find that this position offers the most pleasant release, in which case you won’t descend at all.
If you’d like to move lower, take your elbows where your hands were and rest on your forearms. Or lower your chest to the mat and stretch your arms to a T position, resting either on the left cheek to be kind to your neck or on the right cheek for a fuller twist.
Play with the arrangement of your legs, arms, and head until you sigh. That’s how you’ll know you’re in the right place. I’ve heard a locker room full of football players groan Ahhh in unison as they settled into this pose!
Stay as long as you like—5 to 25 breaths, or even more—and hold the pose on the other side until you feel even.