Yoga Asana (poses) always have benefits beyond the typical ‘get flexible or strong’. Today I’m going to share some of the benefits of twisting poses. There are a wide variety of twisting poses that can be done – some extreme, some gentle – and as with all poses you need to do what is right for you body on any given day. There are days that I feel like I can twist my spine like wringing out a cloth; other days I’m stiff and feel like I can barely move. I adjust accordingly and move into these poses slowly. By never assuming I can do today what I could yesterday and paying attention to this moment I am honouring where I am. But I digress….twisting…
The major benefits of twisting are:
- Improve digestion: Any time you compress an organ, as you do in twisting postures, you essentially cut off some of the blood supply. When you release a fresh influx of blood comes through and with it fresh oxygen. Fresh oxygen means more healing and better function of these important digestive organs.
- Detox: Because of the fresh oxygen you cleanse your system. The fresh blood helps our bodies get rid of waste and impurities that have built up.
- Spinal Rotation: You are as young as your spine is flexible. Keeping the spine and muscles and tissues supporting the spine supple helps decrease pain in the back and pelvis and increases range of motion. Why do you want to do this? Because the lack of range affects so many aspects of our lives and living with pain as so many do decreases the quality of life we experience. We do so much sitting in our lives these days whether at work, in the car, on the couch… twisting helps to relieve the back pain that we experience through so much sitting. Plus- want to be able to tie your own shoes or look up when you see a plane forever? Twist!
- De-stress: Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling stressed you tend to slump forward through the shoulders and let your low back round (while seated!). Twisting opens up the chest and shoulders and extends the spine long. Any time you open your heart and shoulders you reduce stress. You also tend to breath more freely and calmly (really during any yoga asana practice) and that tremendously helps you to reduce the levels of stress hormones. You can read a bit more about that in this post.
I’ll review some of the common twisting poses next week with details on how to do them and how to modify them. In the meantime, have a twist-tacular weekend :)