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Let's Twist Again

Twists can relieve tension through the spine and help your belly feel great! Work your entire core with this flow, which concentrates on building stability and strength through some grounded twists, as well as some more challenging, elevated twists. A great class if you’re short on time but want a full body stretch. It’s time to twist!

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1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)

Start in Tadasana, mountain pose (image not shown) with your hands alongside your body. Close your eyes and analyse your stability rising up from the feet. Notice a lean towards the balls of the feet and then backwards into the heels. Finally, rest in your centre of gravity. Here, we begin with a neutral stance. Open your eyes, take an inhale and reach your arms up, looking towards your thumbs Urdhva Hastasana (not shown). Take a big exhale and begin to forward fold towards the floor. Let your hands rest either on the ground or, for added flexion, take the hands to the back of the ankles to Uttanasana (see image 1). If this is too intense use blocks to rest the hands on.

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2. Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend) + Plank Pose

Inhale to a halfway lift into Ardha Uttanasana (Standing Half Forward Bend) (see image 2), then exhale step back into a plank pose (image 3), lowering down onto your knees, chest and chin. Slide onto your tummy and press into your hands. Inhale for a baby cobra (Bhujangasana (not shown).

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3. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

Exhale start to draw back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward[1]facing dog) (see image 4) where you can walk out your legs by bending your knees alternately. Use your down dog to feel into weightlessness as you press your hands and feet against the ground, noticing space and lightness within the navel area. Feel your belly button hugging into your spine, chin drawing into your chest. Lift the heels up and down to open up the back of the legs. Now find stillness and pause in this shape.

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4. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

When ready, step the right foot forward, lower the back knee and lift the arms overhead to find Anjaneyasana, or low lunge (see image 6). Notice a lift out of the lower back, as you reach upwards and slightly backwards. Press a lot of weight into your right foot, spreading the toes across the ground to prevent a collapse into your hip socket. The fingers should feet light and weightless here, as you create extra support via the back knee. If you feel pinching in the back knee remember to roll up the side of your mat for extra support.

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5.Downwards-Facing Dog Twist

Here we take our first twist, with an option to shorten the space, walk the feet a little closer to your hands and take the right hand to the left ankle, looking underneath the left armpit for a downwards-facing dog twist (see image 5). Close your eyes and breathe into the back of the body. After a few moments, repeat this twist on the other side.

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6. Saral Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Easy Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Next, bring the hands to the heart and twist to the right-hand side, hooking the left elbow over the right knee into easy revolved side angle pose (see image 7). For this variation keep the back knee grounded. When ready repeat this pose on the left side, stepping from downward-facing dog (image 4) to Anjaneyasana (image 6) and then twisting to the left-hand side (image 7). Once complete, step back to down dog and make your way to the top of the mat.

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7. Parivrtta Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Low Lunge Twist Pose)

Inhale to a halfway lift for Ardha Uttanasana (image 2), then exhale to Uttanasana, a deep forward fold (image 1). Inhale to Utkatasana (chair pose, not shown), hands to the heart. Now take another big twist to the right-hand side for Parivrtta Utkatasana (revolved chair pose) (not shown). This is quite a strong pose so breathe easy and when ready repeat this twisted chair on the left hand side before forward folding back into Uttanasana (image 1). Inhale back to Ardha Uttanasana (image 2), then step the left foot back into a low lunge twist for Parivrtta Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana, and float the right hand up into a twist (image 8). Keep the back knee raised and think of squeezing the scapula together on the back body to open the front body.

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8. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Look down and now raise both arms up into a high lunge (image not shown). Pause, find your breath, connect with your feet before the final strong twist on this side. Bring the hands to the heart, keep the thumbs at the chest while you twist the left elbow over the right knee for another variation of Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (revolved side angle pose, image 9). See if you can maintain strength by keeping the back knee lifted, firing up the back leg and press the elbow down to get further lift. Pause for a few breaths before repeating this sequence on the other side from the top of your mat.

Watch the mini sequence below, brought to you in partnership with Isabel Lankester Yoga

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Enjoy the full yoga studio experience from the comfort of your own home with 100+ more on-demand and live-stream classes, from power yoga and vinyasa to yin, meditation and slow flows. isabellankesteryoga.com

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