What do you do to feel good? There’s lots of things that we do; some are good for us and some are awesome for us.
Just like a good nap, a good twist is good for you and can feel really great during and afterward!
Twisting Safely to Good Health
If we’re going to twist to feel good, then we must make sure we twist safely! There’s many different yoga asanas which incorporate twists. Take these pointers into consideration to help you keep yourself safe.
Your spine is composed of many different small vertebrae. Lengthening your spine before and during the twist will help increase the amount of space between each vertebra, giving it room to move.
Start your twist by lengthening your spine. Think of growing taller or longer, from your sacrum all the way up to the top of your head.
To maintain a long spine as you twist, it’s helpful to anchor one end as you rotate from the other end. If you’re doing a sitting twist, stabilize your sit bones on the floor or chair. If you’re doing a standing twist, ground your feet. In both cases, start the twist from the upper back and neck.
If you’re lying down, anchor your shoulders on the floor. Rotate your knee to one side, letting the hips and then the rest of the spine follow. Don’t forget to turn your head to the other side so your entire spine gets the twist.
Lastly, go slow and gently so you can listen to your body and all of the sensations that take place as you twist. Use your breath to slow things down. Inhale as you lengthen your spine, and exhale to twist, and continue slow deep breathing as your body settles in.
Health Benefits of Twists
Now that we’re twisting safely, we can look at some of the benefits of practicing twists within our yoga practice.
When twisting, physical pressure is placed on the internal organs. They are gently massaged and wrung out, much like a washcloth. Old or stagnant blood is pushed out, and when the twist is released, fresh blood fills the organs. This helps to cleanse and detoxify the body naturally.
This physical pressure is also felt in the digestive system. The intestines are filled with nooks and crannies and sometimes food and gas can get stuck. Bloating, constipation, and a sluggish digestion can all be improved with regular twisting.
Many of us have felt back pain or are guilty of poor posture. With proper asana practice aimed at lengthening the spine, pressure is relieved from the vertebral discs while excess curves in the spine can be rebalanced to relieve discomfort.
Yoga feels good and can help our physical bodies heal and bring a better quality of life. Through a safe asana practice that includes twists, our bodies can work better and become more balanced. Twist daily and repeat on the other side!