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Knee Down Twist (supta matsyendrasana)

Reclined posture that releases tension in your spine, hips and abdomen.
 

Knee Down Twist (or supta matsyendrasana) improves the flexibility of your spine. Performing this pose also opens your chest and shoulders, while stretching your lower back and hips.
 
You may find Knee Down Twist useful for releasing tension in your spine, hips and abdomen. This pose can also relax your nervous system and calm your mind. If you have difficulty sleeping, you may want to perform Knee Down Twist to relax your body and mind before going to sleep.
 
As you perform Knee Down Twist, only lower your knee as far as is comfortable for you. It is more important to keep both of your shoulders on the floor than to lower your knee all the way to the floor. As you hold the pose, allow your body to soften and release further into the twist with each exhalation.
 
You should use caution performing Knee Down Twist if you have problems with your spine, lower back, hips or knees.
 
Steps:
Lie on your back with your legs extended and your feet together.
Place your arms on the floor out to your sides at shoulder height, with your palms facing down.
Press out through the crown of your head, fingertips and toes to lengthen your entire body.
Bend your right leg.
Place the sole of your right foot on top of your left leg, just above your left knee.
Exhale as you lower your right knee toward the floor on the left side of your body.
(Allow your knee to lower until you feel a comfortable stretch. Your knee does not have to rest on the floor.)
(Make sure your shoulders and arms are relaxed down on the floor.)
Turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
Hold the pose for 20 seconds to 1 minute.
To come out of the pose, inhale as you bring your right knee and head back to the center and then extend your right leg on the floor.
Repeat steps 4 to 9 for your other side.
 
When I move into the twist, my shoulder lifts off the floor. What should I do?
As you move into the pose, you can let your shoulder lift off the floor. You should then use your breath to encourage your shoulder to move back down toward the floor. With each exhalation, allow your shoulder to soften and release back down toward the floor.
 
What can I do if my neck feels strained in this pose?
Instead of looking over your shoulder, you can look up at the ceiling and tilt your chin down slightly to lengthen the back of your neck.
 
How can I keep my leg stable in this pose?
As you hold the pose, place the hand closest to your bent knee on your knee to keep your leg stable. Make sure you do not pull your knee toward the floor.
 
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