Reclining Spinal Twist

Reclining Spinal Twist is a key pose for athletes that can help to alleviate lower back pain, neck pain and pain in between the shoulder blades.


  • Stretches the IT band, TFL, glutes, piriformis, lower back, abs, obliques, chest, shoulders and neck.
  • Improves spinal mobility.
  • Relieves compression at the lower back.
  • Relaxes the body and quiets the mind.
  • Can help to alleviate upper back pain, lower back pain, knee and neck pain.
  • Relieves stress.



  • Beginner


  • Set-Up

    Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest.

  • Action

    Lower your left leg to the mat and squeeze your right knee into your chest. Bring both arms out in a T, palms facing down. Hook your right foot behind your left inner thigh and gently guide your right knee across your body, down towards the mat, as far as is comfortable.

  • Refinements

    Look to the right and try to keep both shoulders flat to the mat.

  • Modification

    If your knee does not come all the way down to the mat, rest it on a cushion so that you can relax fully into the pose.

  • Duration

    Hold the pose for 5-10 deep breaths on each side.

MODIFICATION: 2-Knee Reclining Spinal Twist

2-Knee Reclining Spinal Twist
  •  This version is a gentler and more accessible variation of the pose.

VARIATION: Reclining Knee-Down Twist

Reclining Knee-Down Twist

 This version intensifies the stretch in the TFL and IT band.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the mat. Straighten your right leg up to the sky and press through your heel. Bring your right ankle to your left knee and drop the inside of your left ankle to the mat. Gently lower your left knee down with the right foot still in place and look to the left.

ADVANCED VARIATION: Reclining Spinal Twist with Eagle Legs

Reclining Spinal Twist with Eagle Legs

This version deepens the twist at the lower back.

  • Lie on your back with both feet in the air. Cross your left knee in front of your right knee and if you can, wrap your left toes around the back of your right ankle as you would in Eagle pose. Gently lower both knees to the left and turn your head to the right.


  • Avoid Reclining Spinal Twist if you have a hip injury.


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