Supta Matsyendrasana: The Two Knee Spinal Twist Pose

By: Gaia Staff  |  September 28, 2016

Pose Guide

Supta Matsyendrasana (soop-TAH MOTS-yen-DRAHS-anah), also known as the Two Knee Spinal Twist Pose, is restorative posture that encourages mobility and movement throughout the spine and entire back while improving digestion and stimulating self-esteem and confidence. During this exercise, make sure to maintain a focus on your breathing. We often forget to consciously focus on our breathing, taking full breathes throughout the entire exercise. Pay attention to how the Two Knee Spinal Twist Pose affects your breathing.


  • Supta: supine
  • Matsyendra: student of Shiva
  • Asana: pose


This beginner restorative posture stretches the spine, chest and back. While this can help with relief from discomfort and prevent strain, exercise caution. Go slowly and don’t push your body beyond its limits.


Beginner (1)

Physical Benefits:

  • Encourages movement and mobility in your spine and vertebrae
  • Stretches your chest, shoulders, lower back, hips, middle spine and your upper back
  • Alleviates pain or stiffness in your lower back, spine and hips

Energetic Benefits:

  • Massages, stretches, and tones your internal organs
  • Improves your digestion
  • Stimulates the svadisthana chakra, associated with creativity, confidence, self-esteem and sexuality

Mudra: Prana Mudra

Incorporate the Prana Mudra into your Two Knee Spinal Twist Pose exercise as it is believed to elicit our life force, or our prana, and activates the Svadhistana (Root) Chakra that is stimulated through this pose. This will help you reap the nourishing energy drawn from the floor.

How to:

With each hand, place the tips of the thumb, ring finger and little finger together. Keep your other fingers extended. This mudra offers a stabilizing, calming preparation or conclusion to your pose.


Self Loving Mantra

The Two Knee Spinal Twist Pose helps encourage mobility and movement within us, and also brings about a sense of confidence and sexual self-esteem that can be enhancing by (self-loving mantras). For this pose, “I am confident in my decisions” and “I am becoming” are two excellent self –affirming mantras to help you realize this newfound mobility and esteem.

Preparatory Poses:

  • Bridge Pose
  • Wind Release Pose

Follow-Up Poses:

  • Reclining Bound Angle Pose
  • Savansana

Contraindications and Cautions:

This pose is an intermediate backbend and you should check with a doctor before performing the pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Severe lower back problems
  • Pregnancy (more comfortable with pillow between knees)
  • Internal organ surgery


  • If the knees do not rest easily on the ground, place your knees and feet on a large pillow.
  • If the twist feels too deep for your lower back, first try placing a pillow between your knees or move your knees below the height of your hips.
  • To deepen your twist, place your right hand on your left knee (closest hand) and press your knees down. To increase further, pull your knees up towards the under arm, but continue to keep your right shoulder from lifting off the ground.


  1. Begin by lying on your back. Exhale as you press your lower back lightly into the floor.
  2. With your abdominal muscles contracted, inhale as you bend your knees and lift your feet off the floor.
  3. Exhale, as you open your arms out to the side in one straight line with your shoulders, palms facing down for support. Continue to support your spine with your core muscles. Bring your feet and knees together.
  4. As you inhale lift your heels slightly higher than your knees.
  5. Exhale as you slowly lower both legs to the left to the floor keeping your feet and knees stacked. Knees should be at the level of your hips and your heels resting about a foot away from the buttocks.
  6. Continue to breath slowly as you let your head turn naturally to the right. Encourage your right shoulder to root down maintaining the twist through the upper spine. Having arms at or just below your shoulder level will increase the ease of rooting the shoulders down. Hold for at least 20 seconds.
  7. To exit, press both hands into the floor at shoulder level and contract your abdominal muscles. As you inhale lift your knees and feet up over your chest. Hold onto your knees with both hands.
  8. As you exhale, draw your thighs down into your chest as you lift your head and chest into the thighs and knees. Avoid lifting your shoulders as the head rises to the knees.
  9. Lower your head and shoulders to the floor and contract your abdominals as you open the arms again to twist to the other side. Repeat entrance into and exit out of twist on the right side.

Pose Guide

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Ben Owens

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