Restorative Yoga Pose of the Week – Reclining Twist

Twisting poses help to relieve any knots that have accumulated in the back due to physical, emotional, or mental tension and stress.  Restorative twists help calm the nervous system and bring the energy down in the body.  Benefits of this pose include improved vertebral joint flexibility, digestion, as well as circulation.  You will feel a gentle stretch in all of the muscles of the back as well as the intercostals(muscles between the ribs).

Always advise your doctor before beginning any yoga practice.  Cautions for this pose include Sciatica, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and Herniated disks.  You can enjoy this pose if you are pregnant.

In setting up this pose, you will want to have a bolster and a blanket.  You may want to have 2 yoga blocks handy as well as a sandbag for additional grounding.  You will want to place your bolster vertical on your mat and sit with your right hip against your bolster.  Twist towards the bolster with your upper back as you lower your chest onto the bolster.  If you desire a full twist, place the opposite side ear on the bolster.  If you would like a more gentle twist, place the same ear as hip on the bolster.  Make sure your head is higher than your pelvis.  If you would like a more elevated twist, place 2 blocks under your bolster for more height.  You can play around with which height is best for you.  Allow your knees to fall towards the mat and add a blanket in between them for more comfort.  Place blankets under your forearms if they do not reach the mat comfortably.  A sandbag may be placed on the thigh of your upper leg.

Once you are set up in this pose, you can soften your gaze or close your eyes, and begin your rhythmic breathing.  You are welcome to stay in this pose as long as you are comfortable.  Twists are typically not held as long as other restorative poses, so average time may be from 3 to 5 minutes.

When you complete the twist from the right side, place your left hip against the bolster and twist from the left.

When coming out of this pose, do so slowly and with intention.  Place your palms on the mat, and gently press your torso and head away from the bolster.  Spend a moment or two in a seated position before twisting on the other side or moving into another pose.

Watch Katie demonstrate how to set up this pose:


Carey, L. (2015). Restorative yoga therapy: The Yapana way to self-care and well-being.
Forbes, B. (2011). Yoga for emotional balance: Simple practices to help relieve anxiety and depression. Boston: Shambhala.
Lasater, J. (1995). Relax and renew: Restful yoga for stressful times. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell Press.