This is the final movement of the spine, twisting. With an emphasis of elongation through all the movements, an ideal yoga class should include forward bends, back bends, side stretches on both sides and twists in both directions.
Spinal twists are powerful detoxifiers. They put emphasis on the organ body, and flushing toxins from the system while at the same time supplying a rush of fresh oxygen and nutrients to them.
The next time you practice any seated spinal twist, close your eyes, and focus inward on your organs. Draw the organs back towards the spine as you breath become aware of how the body aligns. Breathe comfortably, and lengthen through the spine as you inhale. Once you feel tall and engaged, exhale and begin to slowly twist vertebrae by vertebrae from the bottom up.
Once engaged in your spinal twist do another scan of the body, the organs, and the length through the spine. Be sure to keep the heart open, the shoulders relaxed and the neck in line with the spine. The chin should not tip upwards, it should stay parallel to the floor.
Although twists can feel restricting, be sure to breath comfortably and use length to help create a sense of space within the twist. These postures often look like ‘pretzel tricks’ to a beginner, but twists do not have to be complicated! Find a posture that can be modified to your comfort level. Your spine and organs will thank you for it!
Spinal twists detoxify, rejuvenate and bring mobility and flexibility into the spine. Yoga Journal’s website has a variety of twists under their seated postures category, but Marichi’s Pose is a nice twist to start with.
Remember to consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine, even yoga!