4 Steps and 4 Tips for Better Chair Twists
**Note – while beginners may try this after being warmed up, I encourage you to start and maintain a basic practice before attempting this type of posture.
Chair Twist (Parivrtta Utkatasana) was one of my nemesis poses for awhile. It felt like so much was going on and I couldn’t catch my breath while holding this pose, and my shoulders and chest would concave and my form was messy. I gradually added modifications and over time, my form improved. As with many postures, I encourage you to warm up before attempting this twist.
A few Sun Bs (Surya Namaskara Bs) are a great option to warm up for this posture.
4 Steps to Get Into Chair Twists
Step 1: Start in standard Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Step 2: While in chair bring your hands to heart center in prayer position.
Step 3: Inhale – lengthen the tailbone from the crown of the head going forward
Step 4: Exhale – Twist to the Right or Left with hands at heart center, ideally gazing over the designated shoulder
4 Tips for Better Chair Twists
1. Stare at your shins and knees. Are they aligned or misaligned? Adjust as much as you physically can. I level out my hips as much as possible and I stare at my knees for a few breaths and some days my practice calls me to stare at knees the entire time to ensure that my knees and shins are in-line. Let your hips be your ally in this posture.
2. As you twist if you feel like you are folding into a little ball and your shoulders are cussing you out, make your bottom hand a fist and top hand in prayer, and if it feels okay, apply slight pressure to the fisted hand. As one of my teachers would say and encourage, “a slight backbend will help in your chair twist.: This hand variation really helped me find that backbend while simultaneously twisting.
3. Try to lift the core up off the thigh. Do not allow your legs to take on the weight of the twist; instead let let your spine, chest, and shoulders contribute to the posture.
4. Try to resist developing a mental image of how a posture should look in perfect aesthetic form because everyone is anatomically and physically different. Many days, modifications are my friend. I used to let frustration fog my practice but I find joy in applying these things that I have learned from my teachers.
I hope these help you and if you have a tip or a modification that helps you, I’d love to hear it.