Seated Cross-Legged Twist
- Come to a comfortable cross-legged position. (Take Lotus Pose if you’re able, or stack your calves so the ankle of the top leg is directly above the knee of the bottom leg for Fire Log Pose, or simply sit comfortably in Easy Pose.)
- Sitting up straight, bring your right hand to your left knee.
- Keeping your spine straight, raise your left arm to shoulder height. Lift the arm up and overhead, then turn to drop it down behind you, placing the hand right next to your hip. (Placing the hand too far behind you will have you leaning over backward.)
- Turn and look over the left shoulder. Let your eyes rest on a point as far to the left as you can see. Your body will naturally follow your gaze and twist more deeply into the pose.
- Continue to breathe smoothly and evenly as you twist.
- Inhaling, look toward the front of the room, then lift your left hand and stretch the left arm overhead, reaching toward the front wall for a side stretch. Feel the stretch all down the left side. You may want to grip your right hand into your left knee for leverage to stretch further. Take a slow, deep breath.
- On an exhale, drop the left hand to the right knee, and then fold forward over your crossed arms. Breathe into your belly.
- Inhaling, release and come back up to seated. Change your legs and repeat the sequence on the other side.
Twisting poses compress the internal organs, releasing toxins and cleansing the body. Twists are beneficial for abdominal health. This pose also incorporates a side stretch that opens the chest and a forward fold which further works the abdomen.
This pose is contraindicated for students with serious back/spine injuries. Pregnant students should be cautious with any twist and with folds.
My Experience with Seated Cross-Legged Twist:
I first learned this little twisting sequence from a teacher at Yoga on Main in Manayunk and I practice it frequently. I like how it combines a twist with a side stretch and a forward fold, neatly and economically stretching a variety of muscles. I appreciate the simplicity of the leg position that makes the pose accessible to students at any level. My mind stays engaged as I move through the variations, and I find the forward fold at the end gives a feeling of completion.