It’s All I Need In A Pose!

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Yoga Tune Up®’s Revolved Abdominal Pose is all encompassing.  I could recommend this pose to almost anyone for so many reasons. I practice this pose almost daily. A few words come to mind to describe it:

Unwind, strength, up regulating, down regulating, big, small, maybe I’ll grow an inch, detox, fun, indigestion fix, yogic, morning, noon, night. That’s a lot to say about a Yoga Tune Up® exercise!  You can link this with your breath and make this pose as big and juicy as you want or you can slow it down, execute perfect alignment, and melt into it.

Revolved Abdominal pose is logically named, as it grooms the abdominals, hips, spine, and thorax – and it tunes up your core from the inside as well. Your core has a conversation with the skin, connective tissue, muscles, spine, and organs. When thinking about the thorax (the trunk of the body), most of us consider the “belly and back” surfaces and neglect the sides. As Andrew Biel writes in Trail Guide to the Body: “The sides of the thorax connect the “belly and back” together and that the thorax is actually one three-dimensional unit.”

Let’s talk about the exercise!

This pose begins in symmetry and with dynamic movement and breath becomes asymmetrical. That’s just fun and cool. Beginning with the starting position the yogi is lying on her back, arms flexed into a T, knees into her chest. Where the pose gets interesting is when we twist the body from side to side: The twist begins at the thoracic spine keeping the scapula and upper thoracic and cervical spine resting on the floor. The internal and external obliques are toned and strengthened as well as the lower back and hips, because it is paramount that the femur and knee bones stay perpendicular and to hold that alignment we use our quadratus lumborum to stabilize.

Unwind in this pose by revolving the knees to the floor – I sometimes use a block to ensure the joints stay stacked, I position my shoulders and arms in the best rotation possible finding space for my heart to face up. Once I’ve found my perfect expression I practice the Yogic Complete Breath for at least five breaths. Then I remove the brick and return to native breath. Noticing my body melt, drain, and I lay there until I feel prompted to return to my upside down childs pose and hug my legs close to my core. I repeat a Sankalpa and return the favour to the other side.

We can playfully up regulate this movement by linking breath with the movement creating a mini vinyasa. The knees can flex or you can open them wide as there are many modifications the yogi can make along the way.

If I slow this down or speed it up I always feel core connected as my organs get a good hug and squeeze.  Perhaps you could think of this pose is a positive way to hug into yourself.

So many actions in life would be easier if we have a healthy core from every angle! Maneuvering in and out of a car or city transit we have to twist and use all of our limbs quite asymmetrically. Having a healthy lower back and hips is beneficial in any type of labor, light or heavy. Bending over with ease and confidence means the world, and for some people the revolved abdominal variations will help this.

Sherry Matwe

Sherry Smyth-Matwe has been practicing yoga for 9 years and has been a 'gym rat' for many more. Sherry is a Certified Level 1 Yoga Tune Up® Teacher and is inspired to further her skills and knowlege to share with Western Canada. Today Sherry has lead and assisted Yoga Tune Up® workshops, classes, and private lessons...the students love it! Today Sherry is available for private lessons and classes. Please contact her when you're ready! Sherry wishes you warm regards in your curiosity in yoga, and urges all folks to sample Yoga Tune Up®.

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Super analyse de ce mouvement Twist Dynamique qui aide à mieux se connecter et se grounder à son centre. Merci pour les suggestions de variations, j’adore l’idée d’intégrer ce mouvement à un mini vinyasa.

Denitsa Lilova

Hello Sherry! What a nice and scientific perfectly correct with all the angles of the functionality of this exercise. I am just on my way to work with my core, but is ist just very good everyday practice. thank you

Sarah R

Thanks Sherry, the block is a great prop for keeping the joints stacked while moving from side to side and supports the engagement of the adductor muscles in the pose.

Alfredo Figueroa

I think this is now one of my favorite poses!
There is much action happening: inner and outer leg strengtening, abs and core work, QL work. All of that while massaging and toning the organs. It develops strength, flexibility and awareness in the trunk, spine and hips.
It is challenging one, but certainly worth exploring!

Kim Truong

I love spine twists. But having my legs glued together was the first. I felt a nice release on my lower back and lliac crest. I will definitely add this segment to my warm up.


Thank-you for sharing how magical this pose is! I hadn’t given it the consideration it deserved until reading your post. It encompasses so much and it is so accessible. I like how this pose integrates a beautiful opening in the side ribs, lower back, chest and shoulders combined with working and toning all the tubular core muscles. It will be part of my everyday routine from now on!!


I too love this pose for all the reasons you indicated. I also appreciate the forced exhalations to clear out the old and stale air of the lungs. Revolving the trunk with the breath has provided me great pranayama benefits, not to mention toned core.

Aaron Porter

This is one of my favorite Yoga Tune Up® Exercises. I love how you have to use your external obliques in conjunction with your adductors!!! This is a Win Win!!

mimi martel

Yes you are right Sherry this pose is wonderful for your core specially the QL and the obliques. I find the 2 major cues to succeed to fully activate those muscles through that pose is to keep the knees aligned at all time and your hips stacked when twisting, so that your sacrum is aligned with your pelvis when twisting.

Cynthia Bunt-Gardner

We just practiced this pose tonight and Trina detailed the use of the breath to assist in engaging the transverse abdominis. We practiced exhaling as we brought the legs back to midline and then practiced inhaling as we brought the legs back. What a difference it made if we were exhaling. The exhale facilitates the contraction of the adbominis and thus intensifies the minivini.

Sujun Chen

Love practicing this everyday and teach it in every class. It just feels really good as the hips and spine and the back get a beautiful workout. Executed slowly you can feel your whole body simply working in harmony as you are moving the knees towards the floor and slowly all the way to the opposite side. The organs are being massaged – all in all it just feels great as I sync the movement with my breath.

Elise Gibney

I love this pose – thank you for including the variations with the breath and block. I’m definitely going to try them! Your detailed explanation has increased my understanding of some of the more complicated things going on here. Thank you!

Meredith Brockriede

It seems from the comments that this pose is a crowd favorite! I’ve been teaching this pose but didn’t have a name for it until now. I’m glad Jill mentioned in the video that it is okay if one shoulder comes up, as I often hear it cued to keep both shoulders glued down. As an energetic action that is a helpful way to think, but verbalized that way tighter students may feel they are doing the pose ‘wrong’ if the shoulders come up on the twist. As you said, Sherry, everything in life becomes easier as we strengthen our… Read more »


I love this pose. Taking it slow, use the breath, engaging the core, and using the adductors to keep the thighs together and knees aligned. Looks like a simple pose but it still has a lot going on! I do find the breath key to reap the maximum potential to do this exercise.


As I expand my repertoire of core work, this one is definitely rising to the top of my list of favorites! Revolved abdominal pose is highly adaptable and modifiable to fit the needs of the practitioner and I love that it tones, strengthens and conditions so many different layers and regions of the body. Thank you for including some information about how we can apply various abodes of breath to the exercise as well.

Diane M

I Love this pose!! For quite some time, I have been using a similar movement every morning — but it was not til YTU Teacher Training that I learned the importance of lining up the femurs and knees to keep the pelvis in alignment. My sacrum is thanking YTU for it:) The idea of using a block is inventive- I intend to try it as I train myself to break an old habit of poor form/same move… Thanks Sherry!

Renee holden

Sherry, thanks for this blog, we did this pose yesterday in the Yoga TuneUp course! It was a wonderful reminder that we are a connected body! We are linked from top to bottom! I loved your reflection of your organs getting a good hug, mine too will now get “a good hug” every morning!

ShellY Zagor

I started doing this pose a few months ago and absolutely love it- although it is a “core” strengthener , I find it relaxing as well. I like the idea of the blocks! The key for me is to it with mindfulness and slow speed. Thank you for reminding me how important these abdominal poses are for my practice.

Matt Sharpe

Love love love this pose. So much going on at once – stretching and strengthening. Even the hip adductors, which are so commonly under utilized, get into the action with this pose.


When i first tried this pose, I did it to release some lower spine tension. It was such a joy to reas this article and learn that in doing this pose – there is not only release happening but also strengthening taking place and so much more!

will cristobal

i absolute love the revolved abdominal pose! we practiced this today at yoga tune up teacher training and had the jill and her lovely assist “tweak” my pose and helped me keep my wandering knees together. good stuff sherry!