Yoga for Posture – 10 – Scorpion Twist

Okay, we’ve done the primary back muscles with Baby Cobra. We’ve done the butt muscles with Bridge. We’ve gone twice ‘round on the core with Dead Bug and some tougher variations on Dead Bug.

Then, we began to stretch with Dragon Lunge, and continued with Downward Dog, Squatted Downward Dog and moved on to Puppy to decompress the spine. Let’s keep stretching, this time for your pectoral muscles, with Scorpion Twists.

Your pectoral muscles tend to be rather tight. For people with poor posture, they shorten because their working range is compressed. For people who work out, particularly those who do resistance training, the muscles get stronger and without proper stretching tend to pull the shoulders in. So stretch them already.

First off, the scorpion twist is not Scorpion Posture. Scorpion is an arm balancing posture with a major back bend. We’re not doing that, we’re stretching our pectoral muscles, and adding a spine twist while we get at them. In this posture, we will discuss two variations; one to stretch pec major, and one to stretch pec minor.

In each case, the stretching arm will be straight. The opposite arm is free to be used for whatever support you need. I generally have it bent in close to my shoulder, with my hand up on fingertips. Do whatever works best for you.

Scorpion Twist:

  • Lie face down, right arm straight out to the side, palm down
    • From this point forward, don’t move your right hand, you’re stretching pec major
  • Engage the left glute and lift your left leg straight up
  • Begin bending the left knee as you slowly move your left foot over your right leg, gently twisting your lower back
  • Continue twisting your lower back as you reach your left foot toward your right hand
  • Depending on your lumbar mobility and your pectoral flexibility you may be able to place your left foot to the floor.
    • To increase the pectoral stretch, continue to move your left foot to your right hand
  • Release the stretch by reversing these steps
  • Repeat for the left pec major

To stretch pec minor, the posture is exactly the same, except

  • Place your right arm forward of your shoulder, at approximately 45°
    • Where exactly will depend on your own anatomy
    • When you find exactly where to best stretch pec minor, you’ll know it…OWWW
  • Pec minor is shorter and tighter than pec major, so you won’t be able to twist your leg as far.

These are combination spine twists and pectoral stretches. I do it with the primary focus on the stretch, but always with great awareness of my troublesome lumbar spine.

Approach carefully, take your time, and if you have any pain (outside of the discomfort of a muscle not liking to be stretched) STOP.

Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.

There are other ways to stretch the pecs, and other ways to twist the lumbar spine. We should cover both in the near future.