Benefits: This supported spinal twist gently squeezes the abdominal organs, releasing stored toxins. With bent knees is a pain reliever for tight lower backs. The full pose with straight legs is a strong abdominal toner.
Step by Step
1. Lie flat on your back on the floor. Press the lower back into the floor and lengthen the spine. Open the arms to shoulder height, palms down on the floor.
2. Draw the chin in toward the chest, allowing the back of the neck to lengthen. Relax the shoulders away from the ears.
3. Exhale and raise both knees toward the chest. Inhale and expand the breath in the chest. Exhale and drop both knees together toward the right. Keep both shoulders in contact with the floor and turn your head to the left. Inhale as you bring the knees back to the chest. Then exhale as you drop the knees to the left to practice on the other side.
4. After five rounds on each side, drop the knees to the right and hold for several long breaths. On each inhalation, imagine the spine lengthening toward the crown of the head. On each exhalation, anchor down the back shoulder a little more. Experiment with the position of the knees. Moving them closer to the armpit or farther away will change where you feel the stretch in the back.
5. Once you have warmed up in the knees bent version, practice the pose using straight legs. On an exhalation, lower your legs, toes aiming toward the fingertips. Inhale to come up, exhale and repeat on the other side. Build up to five repetitions on each side.
6. On the last repetition, legs to the left, hold the toes or side of the left foot with your hand and stretch both heels away as you revolve your abdomen to the right. Let the right side of your back press down to the floor as you gaze over the right hand. Stay for several breaths before repeating on the right side.
7. Counterpose: Gentle back bend Salabhasana/Locust Pose or Table Top/East Stretch Pose.