Over the last year I have come across several articles on potential issues resulting from the practice of what I call the traditional seated half spinal twist. (ardha matsyendrasana). These articles, including one in Yoga International and one from Judith Hanson Lasater in Yoga Journal, said that locking the hips in place during twisting, could over time harm some of the ligaments in the low back.
At the same time I had been experiencing low back SI issues. (I only practiced the twist this original way for short of 30 years). Judith gave some instruction in Yoga Journal on how to allow the hips to move in twists instead of locking them in place. Here is a video of me doing this new variation. You will notice that I do not cross the foot over the knee. Also, notice the movement of the extended leg foot forward, which in turn allows the hips to rotate before even entering the twist. My back pain has disappeared since changing my practice. My teaching will continue to reflect these new insights.
Lisa Davidson teaches yoga and senior yoga in Framingham, MA and private yoga in Wayland and at your home.