Yoga Spinal Twist: The Feldenkrais Version

If you do any yoga, you are probably familiar with the Spinal Twist:

Photo from

Photo from

As a pose, Spinal Twist offers all sorts of benefits. From, Spinal Twist "encourages movement and mobility in your spine and vertebrae; massages, stretches, and tones your internal organs; improves your digestion; stretches your chest, shoulders, lower back, hips, middle spine and your upper back; alleviates pain or stiffness in your lower back, spine and hips." 

As a movement in an Awareness Through Movement class or a Functional Integration lesson, even more benefits can be found from the same idea. If you were to come to class on a day when we were doing this lesson, you'd be asked a wide variety of questions about the experience of leaning your knees - not just what happens once you get to the floor, but how you get there, regardless of how far you move.

You'd hear questions like these: 

  • As you begin to lean your knees, how does your weight shift behind your pelvis?
  • How much rotation is happening in different parts of your spine? Does that change when your knees come closer to the floor?
  • As you lean your knees, what does your head want to do? Could you do something different with it? Is there more than one option?
  • As your knees come closer to the floor, notice how one side of your ribcage lengthens and opens. What does the other side have to do?
  • What changes in your torso if you put your feet in a different starting place, closer to or further from your pelvis, and then lean your knees?

Stretching feels great, but slowing down opens up hidden possibilities and brings movement to places where we hold on tight in a way that stretching never will. There's so much useful information about your body to be found and questions to get curious about when you take your time!