Visual Yoga Blog: 5 Steps to the Standing Knotted Spinal Twist.

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This one falls into the category of “things to do when you’re bored at a cocktail party.”

Or maybe not. Since the trick to achieving most yoga poses is the technique for getting into them, here’s the technique in five steps (you may need a strap or a belt for this):

1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and fold forward.

2. Reach your right arm between the knees and wrap your right elbow and forearm around the back of your right leg

3. Bring your right hand to slightly outside your right leg or right hip. (Not the crack of the butt, please… that doesn’t look pretty.)

4. Take your left arm around the back and clasp the hands. (If your hands are nowhere near each other, you may need a belt or a strap to help you here. If so, let the belt/strap hang from your left hand, then grab it with your right hand.)

5. Without letting go of the hands (or belt), straighten your legs. This will draw your left shoulder forward, which is what we want: making your back revolve and lengthen. Stay about 10 seconds, breathing slowly, and feel the spine elongate.

That’s it! Standing knotted spinal twist accomplished!

Release, and repeat on your left side. After a few times you’ll have a quick, thorough release to shoulder and back tension.

Benefits: Fantastic and effective way to release tight shoulders, stretch the hamstrings, and reset the back.

Avoid if: You experience any discomfort whatsoever through your knees, the shoulder on the threaded-through arm or your back. Easy does it—if it doesn’t, back off the intensity until the pose feels easy again.

Final Thoughts: I was kidding about doing this at a cocktail party. But if it suddenly strikes you as a good idea, you may have exceeded your cocktail allowance and need to look for a designated driver…

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Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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anonymous Apr 14, 2014 3:26pm

Amazing articles and pictures. And I love the humor element 🙂 keep em comin!

anonymous Jan 29, 2013 11:09am

[…] tight shoulders and back (and who doesn’t these days)? Yes, you could do some yoga-calendar-worthy stuff that’ll hit the spot. Or you could try the following easy two-pose combination to first […]

anonymous Jan 23, 2013 3:06pm

[…] a twist on the ol’ twist can make you feel like you’re being introduced to your spine again. Spine, meet you. You, […]

anonymous Jan 17, 2013 11:55am

I did this, not at a cocktail party, but in my PJ's at home. (I read Elephant Journal while I'm having my morning coffee). When I get to number 5 it is my right shoulder that revolves forward, not my left – it revolves back. But then maybe I'm still asleep and the caffeine hasn't kicked in yet! I did enjoy it though as an early morning stretch.

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Ricardo das Neves

Ricardo das Neves is the author of Unenlightened: Confessions of an Irreverent Yoga Teacher, and is occasionally known to tweet (@spirithumor). See more VISUAL YOGA BLOGS here. When he’s not trying to be funny, he acts very serious teaching yoga classes in and around Seattle. Subscribe to future VISUAL YOGA BLOGS here. Connect with him on Google+