96: The “BEST” way to teach twisting movements!

What kind of rules have you been taught about the safest way to twist? What do you teach your students about the best way to rotate through the spine? Today we are taking a deep dive into these questions and I couldn’t be more excited!

Your fellow teacher and podcast listener Madison Houck joins us today to unpack this conversation, as it was inspired by a really interesting private lesson Madison and I had. 

In this episode you’ll hear:

  • how the spinal vertebrae relate and react to each other 
  • the single good reason to focus twisting movements in the thoracic spine
  • several specific twisting movements to try with your students
  • some ideas for cueing in a specific, but expansive way
  • why brining nuance into movement teaching is so challenging, and so important


This episode is sponsored by OfferingTree!   Sign up at www.offeringtree.com/mentor to get 50% off your first three months (or 15% off any annual plan).  With OfferingTree, yoga teachers put their schedule on a personally branded website where students can book classes and even pay or donate online.  All of this can be set up in 10 minutes or less.  OfferingTree supports me with each sign-up.

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4 Responses to “96: The “BEST” way to teach twisting movements!”

  1. Melissa

    The permission you talk about here = yes! I know I give my body that permission and my students too.
    I’m curious if you both would apply the same permission when lifting a leg in DD and allowing the body to turn open – allow shoulders to turn or not to turn? (That is the question! ; ) Similar to how we’ve all been taught not to turn the hips in twists, I think we’ve been taught not to turn the shoulders in DD Splits (or One-Legged Dog, whatever you choose to call that pose), Personally, I play with both variations and always enjoy allowing the shoulders to turn (but no elbows bending!) more than not. How about you?

    • Francesca Cervero

      Oh yes, sure! As long as people are steady in their foundation I think letting the shoulders turn can offer a really nice side body stretch!

  2. Robin Stuelpner

    I really appreciate this conversation. It brought up two thoughts that weren’t addressed. One: for me, when doing almost any rotational movement , my focus is on accessing abdominals, ie, feeling activation of these core muscles.. So, by keeping the pelvic stable and not allowing rotation in the pelvis, I can feel this muscular activation. Two: in the example given of triangle pose, an option I use is to slightly flex the forward knee to give more freedom to the pelvis. But I am totally with you on allowing pelvis movement when the focus is on gaining more freedom of movement. I also try not to micromanage movement.

    • Francesca Cervero

      These are great points Robin! Thanks for bringing them up! That activation of core muscles is partly what we were talking about in the discussion around the cueing from Pilates and like I said, I think that is a great reason to keep the pelvis still in a twist sometimes! I love that we are on the same page about this stuff!


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