You may have noticed that we tend to do twists later on in class, sometimes just before relaxation as we did this week. This is because they are neutralising poses, helping the body to recover from a sequence of stronger poses, such as cobra and wide legged forward bends this week.
Twists work a range of muscles including the abdominals, the muscles along the spine, and parts of the shoulders, pelvis, and neck. They can also be quite demanding in themselves, so it’s important to pay attention to alignment and come into and out of them slowly and safely.
How can we do them safely?
Begin with an inhale to lift up and lengthen the spine before moving into a twist. If sitting on the floor, push down with the sitting bones. You can sit on a block to help you lift and keep the spine long.
Think about starting at the bottom and working up the spine. This is because different parts of the spine have different ranges of mobility. The lower part, the lumbar, rotates only around 5 degrees, the thoracic spine rotates about 35 degrees whereas the cervical spine has the most mobility with around 50 degrees.
Protect your neck by turning it last of all. Try and keep your shoulders level, and spend the same amount of time on each side.
An aid to digestion?
Twists are thought to aid digestion. But there is no medical evidence to support the theory that they may be detoxifying. However, depending how deeply you are twisting, they certainly put pressure on our internal digestive organs, squeezing them first on one side then the other.
Here’s a reminder of some of this week’s sequences
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