How to twist:
Sit straight. Place the head and the shoulders over the pelvis. If you feel the back rounding, sit on a height (like on a blanket or a block). You can choose sitting between the heels or with one leg forward.
Extend first. Before you twist, extend the sides of the trunk and extend the spine. Using the hands to pull on the leg can help.
Know where to twist. Think of moving the trunk from at the height of your shoulder blades, letting the chest bone lead, not the head.
Stay grounded. Keep moving the sitting bones down, specially the one of the upper leg. One will become lighter, but keep moving it towards the floor.
Watch for tension around the neck and for rounding in the upper back. Keep extending the sides of the neck by pulling the crown of the head up and broaden, open the chest.
Use the breath. Extend the spine while you inhale, turn using the exhalation.
Hand or elbow? Both will work. Use whatever helps you move from the chest bone, taking the shoulders more in line with each other, but keep the sides and the neck long and the front side open.
Why twist anyway?
- To improve digestive function. Twists are said to flush old blood out of the abdominal organs and increase blood flow; optimizing organ function.
- To detox. They are also thought to stimulate liver and kidneys, increasing our capacity to effectively get rid of toxins.
- For flexibility. The muscles and tissues that surround the spine can become stiff and bring a feeling of rigidity into our lives. Twists can help us keep the spinal muscles mobile and find more lightness.
- To work against neck tension. By reestablishing the mobility of the thoracic spine, we act against tension in the neck and bring in the freedom needed for the head to find better alignment.
- Twists can be done playfully, they are fun and allow us to change perspective and “find a new angle”.
So, just twist!