It's easy to get discouraged when practicing twists because your progress may be slow. But be patient and persistent because — even though you may get only a small range of motion — consistently performing twists will stretch important muscles that run along the spine and help stretch your side abdominal muscles.
1 Sit directly on top of a firmly rolled yoga mat with both legs extended (this will lift your pelvis so you can sit up with a straight spine). Bend your right knee and place your right heel in line with your right buttock bone. Your right foot should not touch your left inner thigh. Inhale as you hug your right shin and sit as tall as possible with your sitting bones pointed down toward the floor.
2 On an exhale, place your right hand behind you on the floor. Turn toward your right bent leg and, if possible, hook your left elbow around the outside of your right thigh (otherwise just hug your right thigh with your left arm). Rotate your upper body toward the right. Press your right foot down while keeping your right shin vertical. Hold for six breaths, increasing the twist with every exhale. Repeat on the other side.
— Karen VoightCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times