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Supta Matsyendrasana or Cross Twist Pose/Supine Spinal Twist

English Name(s)
Cross Twist Pose, Supine Spinal Twist
Sanskrit
सुप्तमत्स्येन्द्रासन / Supta Matsyendrasana
Pronunciation
soop-TAH MOTS-yen-DRAHS-anah
Meaning
supta = supine, reclined
matsya = fish
indra = ruler
āsana: “posture”

Supta Matsyendrasana At a Glance

Supta Matsyendrasana: The main benefit of this pose is to relax the spine and give a gentle twist to the hips. In some yoga schools, it is also called Supta Merudandasana or Jathara Parivrtti‘. This is a good warm-up pose for intense back-bending asanas. It strengthens your lower back and is also effective for sleep disorders.

Benefits:

  • It helps to relieve the lower back pain.
  • It relaxes and calms the body and mind.
  • This is good for the digestive system and improves digestion.
  • It can help with sleep disorders.
  • It can be done as a warmup pose for intense backbend yoga poses.
  • It can relieve pain and cramps during the menstrual cycle.

Who can do it?

Beginners of any age can do it with normal health. People sitting at work longer can do this to help with mild back issues. People can do this pose at sleep for better sleep at night. This can be done as a relaxation pose after the yoga practice.

Who should not do it?

People having severe issues with their back or hips should avoid doing it. Any recent surgeries should consult their health care professional or avoid it. Pregnant women should avoid it or can do it under the supervision of a prenatal yoga teacher.

How to Do Supta Matsyendrasana?

Follow the Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. You can do this asana at night to get good sleep, do it gently, and coordinate your breathing throughout.
  2. Lie down in the supine position, on the yoga mat or any soft surface, and extend your legs straight and arms relaxed.
  3. Take a deep breath, relax, and come to the reclined mountain pose. Keep your neck, spine, and shoulders flat on the floor.
  4. Inhale gently and deeper bend your left leg (left knee), bring it closer to the chest and knees bent, and relax in this pose for about 2 to 3 breaths.
  5. Now for the twist, exhale and bring your left (knees bent) towards the right side of the body. Twist in the hips and place it in the middle of you on the mat, left knee touching the floor (it’s ok if your knee doesn’t touch the mat).
  6. Shift the hips slightly to the left.
  7. Your left hip should be on your right thigh.
  8. see that Your shoulder blades are touching the ground and your right arm is stretched out in line with your shoulder and palm facing down.
  9. Your left hand can be stretched out (forming at both arms) and palm facing the ground, or you can keep it over your left bent knee.
  10. Turn your head to your left side and gaze at your left-hand fingertips.
  11. Keep your extended leg straight.
  12. Stay in this Supine twist, and take relaxed breaths, in and out (let go of all the stress and tension).
  13. When ready to release, bring your head to the center, your left leg to the ground, and stretch back to Supta Tadasana.
  14. Now relax and do it on the other side with the right leg.

What are the Benefits of Supta Matsyendrasana?

  • Supta Matsyendrasana stretches your glutes, chest, obliques, and goo heart opener.
  • It is a good medicine for mild back pain and releases tension in your lower back muscles.
  • It makes your spine and hips more flexible and mobile
  • It will help with your everyday stressful work life and helps with maintaining good posture and avoiding hunching your back.
  • This is good for your abdominal muscles, as it massages the internal organs and improves blood flow. This helps with constipation and gas and helps to reduce lower belly fat.
  • It is a relaxing pose that helps to cool down the nervous system and calm your mind.
  • Regular practice of this asana can help clear your mental congestion or disturbances and improve your focus and concentration.
  • It improves your mental and physical awareness.

Health Conditions that may Benefit from Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Better digestion process- For people with constipation, this pose can be helpful to improve your digestion process by stimulating the abdominal organs.
  • People with mild lower back pain due to a sedentary lifestyle can practice this to get better relief.
  • This could be the best if you add to your everyday yoga routine to maintain and improve your posture.
  • Practicing this asana for mild sciatica can be helpful.
  • It helps to cool and balance your nervous system.
  • This is a great pose that will be helpful to reduce stress and anxiety.

Safety and Precautions

  • Avoid doing this pose if you have back or knee injuries or recent surgeries.
  • If you experience any pain or strain, just leave the pose. Consult your healthcare professional if any health concerns.
  • Pregnant women should practice this pose with great care under the guidance of the prenatal yoga teacher.
  • Don’t over-stretch your hips.
  • Respect your physical limits.

Common Mistakes

Holding the Breath is the biggest mistake for any yoga pose, and so is this. Avoid forcing your knee to touch the floor or yoga mat. Bring it till you are comfortable.

Tips for Supine Spinal Twist

  • Do the supine spinal twist on a soft and even surface. Respect your body, and don’t push to get to the pose. Keep it slow and within your limits.
  • Breath is important for a better twist and to relax your body and mind. Keep breathing throughout the supine spinal twist pose.
  • Practice yoga (Beginners) under the guidance of the yoga trainer.

The Physical Alignment Principles for Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Keep your arms and legs extended while lying on the mat.
  • Bend your right leg and bring it to your chest.
  • Bring your right knee and place the right foot on the left knee.
  • Try touching the right knee to the ground, but don’t force it.
  • Your left arm extended outward. Right arm extended outward, forming a T, or place it on the right knee. The palm should be facing upward.
  • Your shoulders and back are grounded.
  • Your left leg should also be grounded.
  • Turn your head on the right side and look over your right shoulder, looking at your right fingertips.
  • Keep your breath gentle and deep. Keep breathing till you are holding the pose.
  • When you release, inhale, and straighten your head and your legs, bring down your arms, and come to a relaxing Supta Tadasana yoga pose.
  • Then do the same steps on the other side (left leg) for the supine spinal twist pose.

Breath and Supta Matsyendrasana

In Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined lord of fishes pose), breath plays an important role as in any other yoga pose. When you start the pose, inhale deeply. Continue breathing, and when you twist, inhale and exhale to get a deep twist. Inhale deep to lengthen your spine and give a good stretch when you exhale. Remember not to hold your breath. Your breath should be calm and relaxed. Your breath should help to get more flexibility in your body. Be mindful and steady while breathing, which will help to connect you to your body and mind.

Supta Matsyendrasana and Variations

  • Eagle pose by wrapping one leg over the other and twisting in the opposite direction.
  • You can bend the knees instead of keeping it straight.
  • You can place props like cushions or folded blankets under the knee and hips.
  • You can do the supine spinal twist pose by sitting on the chair.
  • Pregnant women can do variations with the help of props and within their comfort level.

Take Away

The supine spinal twist pose gently twists your spine and releases tension from your hips. This helps to release stress and tension in your hips and back. This strengthens your upper and lower back and releases the stiffness from your shoulders. Remember to breathe throughout the pose to Maintain stability and balance and cool down your nervous system. You can do variations according to your physical limits. This helps to reduce your stress relax and soothe your mind and body.

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Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga International. She is known worldwide for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. She got the Top 100 Entrepreneur of Singapore award in 2022. Meera is a yoga teacher and therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga International, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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