From easing low back pain to improving digestion, twists are incredibly beneficial. Here’s how to deepen any twist by using a prop you definitely have at home. When you think of using the wall in your asana practice, it’s probably to help with inversions by kicking or crawling up the wall or to rest your legs in the supremely relaxing legs-up-the-wall-pose. Yet a wall can do so much more, like help deepen many other yogic postures as well as provide feedback on muscle activation that can eventually help you practice those same postures without the support of a wall.
Pose 1: Chest and Shoulder Opener
Walk your nose and toes to the wall. Take your left hand underneath your shoulder, with elbow bent back. Extend your right arm out to the side at shoulder height. Looking over at your left hand, press the left palm firmly into the wall as you begin to rotate your chest towards the left hand. Begin to pivot your toes toward the left so that the pinky side edge of your feet is parallel to the wall. If you can, continue to rotate your chest and feet towards the center of the room, keeping your right shoulder and arm firmly pressed into the wall. Once you reach your maximal twist, pause for 10 breaths. Slowly unwind, returning to your starting position of noes and toes to the wall. Repeat on the other side.
Pose 2: Revolved Triangle Pose
Stand with your right hip against the wall. Take a big step forward with your left foot so that your feet are the approximate distance of your lunge. Keeping your right foot as flat as possible, extend both legs straight. Hinging at your hips, begin to forward fold with a flat back. Once your chest is parallel to the ground, place your right hand on the ground, block, or on the top of your left foot and extend your left arm up to the sky. Roll your right shoulder back into the support of the wall to deepen the twist. Here, the wall will act as an assist to keep your hips square (instead of displaced to the right). Stay here for 5 breaths, then gently bring both hands to the ground and step forward to fold forward. Repeat on the other side.
Pose 3: Revolved Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Stand about 4 feet away from the wall, facing it. Root your right foot into the floor and draw your left knee up to your chest. Keeping your abdominals engaged, extend your left leg, placing your left foot firmly against the wall at hip height. Take a big breath in and grow tall to lengthen your spine. On an exhalation, twist to the left, bringing your right hand to the outer edge of your left quadricep while extending your left arm towards the center of the room. Work on actively pressing your left foot forward into the wall. Simultaneously root your right foot solidly into the earth. To deepen the posture, place your right hand on the outside on your left foot, flattening your palm against the wall. Stay here for 5 breaths. On an inhalation, slowly unwind, returning to Tadasana (Mountain pose). Repeat on the other side.
Pose 4: Revolved Half Moon Pose
Standing in the middle of your mat facing away from the wall, come into a forward fold. On an inhalation, come to a standing forward bend. Extend your left leg back, pressing your left foot flat against the wall behind you. Keeping your hips square, extend your right arm up to the sky, finding Revolved Half Moon Pose. Use the wall to negotiate the strength of your back left leg. Press actively into the wall with your left foot, engaging the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Once you are firmly rooted in your legs, use your exhalation to rotate your torso even more toward the sky. Stay here for 5 breath cycles. On an exhalation, return to Supported Warrior 3 pose, then gently step your left foot to the right, arriving in a forward fold. Repeat on the other side.
Pose 5: Supine Twist (Variation 1)
Lie on your back in Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani). Take your arms out to a T-shape. Keeping your hips as close to the wall as possible, slowly lower both legs over to the left. Hold for 10 breaths before returning to Viprarita Karani, then repeat on the other side.
Pose 6: Supine Twist (Variation 2)
Lie on your back in Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani). Take your arms out to a T-shape. Keeping your hips as close to the wall as possible, slowly lower both legs over to the left. Bend both knees, press both feet against the bottom of the wall, and use your left hand to gently guide both knees closer to the ground. Hold for 10 breaths before returning to Viprarita Karani, then repeat on the other side.