Uta’s Insights: Yoga Pose of the Week—13. Spinal Twist

September 1, 2014 By Uta Pippig

Spinal Twist—Ardha Matsyendrasana

© Tim DeFrisco
© Tim DeFrisco

Ardha Matsyendrasana releases tension and has a calming effect. It increases flexibility in the neck, shoulders, spine and gives a nice stretch to the gluteus muscles. It is an exercise much appreciated by runners, bikers, triathletes, and many others.

The pose improves lung capacity by stretching the intercostal muscle groups, the small muscles located between the ribs, and by opening the chest.

It is one of my fellow runners’ favorite exercises. We enjoy practicing the Spinal Twist right after an easy workout to relieve muscle tightness and tension, and it is a great stretch when you move into it right after the Head Beyond the Knee pose.

How to practice the Spinal Twist:

  1. Start in a sitting position with the legs straight ahead and hands on the floor behind you.
  2. Cross your left leg over your right leg and place your left foot flat on the floor beside your right knee.
  3. Bring your right elbow to the outside of the left knee, applying light pressure to it. And place your left hand behind your spine.
  4. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly as you turn your shoulders as far as you can to the left, keeping the back straight and shoulders down with very little weight on your left hand. Envision the spine lengthening upwards. Please be gentle with this move!
  5. Breathe steadily, twisting a little more each time you exhale. Return to the position in Step 1. Then repeat the sequence on the other side.

I wish you much joy while practicing your yoga program.



Reading Suggestions:

  1. Yoga for Performancesm: Introduction
  2. Yoga for Performancesm: Runners’ Sequence, Part 1
  3. Yoga for Performancesm: Runners’ Sequence, Part 2

More Insights

May 15, 2018
How a Clever Mental Focus Can Get You Through Running Injuries

How a Clever Mental Focus Can Get You Through Running Injuries

Running injuries can be devastating, but learning to focus mentally can speed up the healing process. Uta explains how the forced break from running can actually provide future benefits.
February 28, 2018
How To Prevent Injuries While Running

How To Prevent Injuries While Running

A sudden injury can bring your training workouts to a halt. But there are many simple preventive measures you can take that will help you avoid running injuries and also allow you to improve your running. Uta shares some of her tips that helped her in her championship career.
June 21, 2017
How to Hydrate Properly on Warm Summer Workout Days

How to Hydrate Properly on Warm Summer Workout Days

Warm summer workouts require an increased focus on hydration. In this “DIE WELT” column, Uta passes on some hydration guidelines she followed in training and races to win marathons and keep her body in peak running condition.
June 6, 2017
Running on Warm Summer Training Days

Running on Warm Summer Training Days

Training in the summer heat means taking some extra precautions to make sure your body does not overheat. If your goal is a marathon, a 5K, or a weekend fun run, here are some tips to keep you cool—and make your training more successful.
October 7, 2015
Run Your First 5K

Run Your First 5K

Start on the road to better fitness and health by preparing for your first 5K run. Uta’s six-week training schedule with a combination of walking and running will guide you—step by step—to an enjoyable and successful race day.