Shava Udarakarshanasana (Universal Spinal Twist) – Benefits, Adjustment & Cautions

Shava Udarakarshanasana is also known as Universal Spinal Twist. It is especially useful to practice this pose towards the end of your asana practice. The Universal Spinal Twist aims to realign your hip joint and removes tightness from the lower back. Shava Udarakarshanasana is also helpful in digestion and massaging/stretching the digestive system. 

Today we share with you the step-by-step instructions:

1.      Lie on your back with your legs and feet together

2.      Stretch out your arms to the sides like bird wings

3.      Place the palms on the ground

4.      Bend the right knee and place the sole of the right foot next to the left knee cap

5.      Grab your right knee with your left hand

6.      Gently bring the right knee down towards the floor on the left side of your body

7.      Maintain the right sole of your foot attached to your left knee cap

8.      Turn the head to the right and look at your right hand

9.      Keep both shoulders fixed on the mat

10.   Don’t lift your right arm off the ground

11.   Keep the left leg straight

12.   Hold this position for as long as you feel comfortable

13.   Take a few deep breaths and relax into the posture

14.   You might feel some clicking sound

15.   Repeat it on the opposite side

Note: Inhale in the starting position. Exhale while


·        Tightness and tiredness is relieved

·        Relaxes the lower back

·        The pelvic and abdominal organs are toned

·        Improves the digestive system

·        Balances the nervous system

·        Removes stress

·        Realign the hip joint


This posture should be avoided if you feel pain while attempting it.


Keep the shoulder attached to the ground to gain maximum stretching. Also, you should keep in mind to push your knee toward the ground. This extends your twist and improved the flexibility of your lower back as well. The straight leg should be relaxed. Press your palm onto the floor for more stability and grounding.

Yoga Asana Practise at Gyan Yog Breath

Our Gyan Yog Breath Team publishes weekly asana tutorials for you to help you get into the right practice and understand about various benefits and contra-indications of postures.

Sometimes, reading about practice can awaken questions and the desire to learn yoga on a much deeper level.

Therefore, we have established three Yoga Alliance registered Yoga Teacher Training Programs that aim to guide you into advanced and higher levels of yoga. Practicing yoga regularly clearly has some transformational health benefits. You don’t only create a union between yourself and others but most importantly control the fluctuations of the mind. This is the key definition of yoga (“Chitta Vritti Nirodah”).




4 Responses

  1. This is one of my favorite postures to relax my spine, hips and belly. We practiced this always before shavasana during my 200 hour yoga teacher training in India. I only find the word very difficult to remember/pronounce?

    1. Hi Sarah! Shava Udarakarshanasana is a long word, indeed, but as you practise to pronounce it regularly, it will become very easy!

  2. My unparellel experience of Yoga Teacher Training in India at Gyan Yog Breath, has to be experienced to be believed. For example the teachers not only are well versed in their respective fields, but have such a good command on understanding of western psyche.

    Doing Yoga by Ganges the most pious of Indian Rivers at foothills of Himalaya has been the best experience of my life. I highly recommend it to everyone. The food is healthy yet tasty. Choice of Vegan and Dairy as per individual choice.

    Four weeks well spent.

    1. Thanks Sarah for chosing us & our 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh! We are happy to read your lovely comment, thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
      We hope to meet you again and wish you all the best!It was a pleasure to have you on the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training!

      Love and Light
      Your Gyan Yog Breath Team