Relieve Tight Hips with a Standing Twist

Pose: Standing Twist with a Chair or a Tall Table

Sanskrit Name: Utthita Marichyasana

How do I prepare for the pose?


 One sandbag. One block. One chair or tall table.

Breath work

Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself into the present moment.

Step one = Align

Align your body, heart, and mind with your intention. 

Pause and reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)? 

Step two = Energize 

Read How do I practice the pose? first. Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly. 

Once you get a sense of the directions in the pose, feel the positive emotion(s) and match that with your intention. Breathe mindfully. Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes, disconnect from the world, and feel the positive emotion(s) you want to feel.

Step three = Heal 

Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to unlearn imbalanced movement patterns and relearn balanced movement patterns to release tightness in your hips.  

Caution  If your back is hurting at any point, mindfully exit the pose the opposite way you entered.

How do I practice the pose? 

Align. Set your intention.

  • Prop-assistance. Set up the chair or have access to a table. If using a chair, place a block on the chair.
  • Stand either facing the chair or facing the table
  • Prop-assistance. Place one sandbag under your right heel to create a lift for the right hip. 
  • If using the chair, place your left foot on the block located on the chair. If using a table, place your left foot on the table. Make sure that your left knee is higher than your left hip.
  • Gently descend your left hip down towards the earth. 

Energize your feet and power up your legs. 

  • Press both heels of your feet into the mat.
  • Gently squeeze your inner thighs towards each other.
  • Inhale and take both arms over your head. 

Align and energize your upper core strength. 

  • Exhale and gently twist to the left, placing your right hand over your left outer knee.  
  • Place your left hand on your hip, point your left elbow back, and create external rotation in your left upper arm.
  • Gently engage your rhomboids (inner shoulder blade muscles) towards the spine by gently squeezing your shoulder blades together.  
  • Gently engage your lower trapezius (back muscles) to draw the lower end of your shoulder blades down your back. 

Energize your feet, shins, and legs to power up your lower core. 

  • Stabilize your lower core by staying strong and connected on your standing leg. 

Heal. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

  • On each exhalation, follow the release and gently twist your torso (at the diaphragm area), a bit more into the pose. 

Exit the pose.

  • Exit the pose on your exhalation. 

Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe effortlessly and mindfully.

  • Exhale and let go of what no longer serves you: pain, tension, tightness, anxiety, fear, sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity, separation, and so forth. 
  • Inhale and feel what you want to bring into your life: suppleness, flexibility, strength, freedom, joy, happiness, peace, vitality, loving-kindness, inclusivity, connection, unity, understanding, abundance, love, wealth, good health, gratitude, and so forth.  
  • Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

How do I exit the pose? 

  • First inhale and then exhale. Exit the pose the opposite way you entered. 
  • Return to Mountain and feel the effects within.
  • Repeat the pose on the second side with opposite directions. 


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