Bikram Spine Twist

December 26, 2021 4 min read

Bikram Spine Twist


 The  Bikram Spine Twist. An overview. 

The Spine Twisting Pose in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series is the final posture you do before doing the Kapalabhati Breathing Exercise. The name of the Bikram Spine Twist  Pose in Sanskrit is Ardha Matsyendrasana and has the following transition into English: Ardha has the meaning of "half:, Matsya translates to English as "fish" or "lord," Indra means "king" in English, and as always Asana means "pose" or "seat."

The posture is generally referred to as Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose in the Bikram Series. It is the only posture in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series that you do one set of and the reason for this is that you do not need to do any more than one set of Spine Twisting. You are just trying to create a balance between the left and right sides of the body in Spine Twist. It looks and sounds simple to do, but it is easy to get mixed up in this pose for both new students and new teachers, so let us do a review of the final pose in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series before your final breathing and Savasana.


Bikram Spine Twist

The Bikram Spine Twist explained.

 To get started in the Spine Twisting Pose, you need to sit with both hips on the floor. You then need to bend the left leg with the left knee facing the front of the room. Your left leg should be turned on the floor so that your left foot should be touching your right hip. Move your right foot to the right, so the right heel touches the outside of your left knee. The next thing is to bring your left elbow to the outside of the right knee and lengthen up through your spine.

Make sure you have both hips remaining on the floor for the entirety of the Spine Twist. Begin to twist and turn to the right as if you are wringing out a wet dishrag or as if you twisting your spinal column like a pearl necklace. Your chin should keep chasing your right shoulder as you twist and turn to the right of the room. Your left elbow and right knee for the entirety of the Spine Twist should be touching one another.

Keep the chest lifted in Bikram Spine Twist 

 Your chest is lifting from start to finish during the Spine Twist Pose. Drop the shoulders down, but the right shoulder will be slightly lower than the left in a perfect world. Try and bring the right hand behind your body as you twist and turn to the right. Doing this will give an even stronger base to do your Spine Twist from. One thing that helps is to keep in mind to use your breath in Spine Twist as you do with all poses.

As you inhale, lengthen the spine up towards the ceiling, and look to your right on the exhale. Come out of the pose and do the left side of your body. You are doing one set at twenty-five seconds each for both left and right sides of the body. When finished, lay on your back and do the Savasana. Doing your Savasana directly after the Spine Twist will give you all the immense healing benefits of the pose.


 The Spine Twist or Ardhamatsyendrasana meaning Half Lord of the Fish is the final pose in the Bikram hot Yoga Series before you do your last breathing exercise. It is the only pose in Bikram that you do one set of because you are just trying to balance both sides of the body out and are not focused on going deeper, which is why you do the second set in all other poses.

You may have trouble doing all of the listed parts to this pose, but the main thing to focus on is a strong base with both hips on the floor to do your Spine Twist Pose. Describing the Spine Twist can be a tongue twister to say and do for new teachers and beginners, but the more that you do it, the easier that it will get each time. I hope this blog post will help you better understand the Spine Twist in the Bikram Hot Yoga Series. Namaste.


 Cheat sheet for New Teachers and Beginners

  • Start The Spine Twist by sitting on the floor
  • Bend the knee of the left leg on the floor in front of you
  • Keep both hips on the floor for the duration of the pose
  • Swing right foot over right leg and place foot in front of left knee
  • Place left elbow in front of right knee
  • Bring right arm behind you
  • Begin to lengthen spine and twist to the right
  • You are twisting your spine to the right as if it was a wet dish rag
  • The chin chases the right shoulder for the duration of the pose
  • Continuously twist the whole spine life a pearl necklace from top to bottom
  • Keep twisting to the right with both hips on the floor
  • Try and bring your right hand more behind you as you twist and turn to the right hand side of the room
  • Make sure you are extending spine towards the ceiling on inhales
  • On your exhale twist and turn to your right
  • Come back to the middle and do the opposite side of your body
  • When finished both sides lay on your back and do a Savasana




  • Helps improve circulation to the spinal column including spinal nerves and tissues
  • Helps clear the  spine of toxins
  • Good for back pain and arthritis
  • The pose can help open up the rib cage
  • The Spine Twist aids in proper  digestion
  • This posture is good for the opening up of  the hips
  • This pose massages all of your inner organs
  • Spine Twisting is good for strengthening the abdominal wall
  • Helps in strengthening the glutes and thighs
  • Both compresses and stretches your entire spinal column
  • The Spine Twist can help in diminishing your lower back pain
  • Good for the Central Nervous System of your body



Let's connect