Q: Why do we only do one set of Spine-Twisting Pose?

A: Spine-Twisting Pose (Ardha-Matsyendrasana) is the 25th posture in the Bikram Yoga Series. Unlike most postures in the series, we only do one set of Spine-Twisting Pose (twisting once to the right and once to the left in a single set). There is no need for a second set of Spine-Twisting Pose because its purpose is to create equilibrium in the spine; for postures that are done twice, the purpose is often to do the first set as a “warm up,” followed by a second deeper/healing set (in other words, your body is warmed up after the first set of the posture, so you can perform a deeper version of the same posture in the second set; Spine-Twisting Pose balances out the right side and the left side in a single set, and there is no need for a second).

According to some students who have been through Bikram Yoga teacher training, both Bikram Choudhury and his wife, Rajashree Choudhury, have been known to say, “It’s a long posture and there is no time for a second set.” In fact, Rajashree has also pointed out that Spine-Twisting Pose is not the only “one-set” posture in the Bikram Yoga Series. For practitioners that do both Tree Pose (Tadasana) and Toe Stand (Padangustasana), only one set of each of those postures is performed, as well.

Benefits of Spine-Twisting Pose:

  • This is the only posture that twists (compresses and stretches) the spine from top to bottom, which increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins and tissues, and improves the elasticity of the spine.
  • Spine-Twisting Pose relieves lower-back pain and helps prevent slipped discs, rheumatism of the spine, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis and arthritis.
  • It also increases hip and back flexibility, firms the buttocks, thighs and abdomen, improves digestion and calms the nervous system.

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