There are many yoga poses that involve some sort of rotation, or twisting. They work the spine, hips, and muscles, and can also give your arms quite a workout. But are there other benefits to these yoga postures? Here’s a look at what the evidence says.
These poses may help to strengthen the muscles that surround the spine and may help support a healthy, supple spine.1
Twisting yoga poses may also provide benefits to your digestive organs by supporting healthy circulation. Just like you twist a sponge to wring it out, twisting the body may help support an infusion of fresh blood into the area. This fresh blood, in turn, could help to stimulate digestion.2
Twisting Yoga Poses For Beginners
Here are a couple of twisting yoga poses even beginners should be able to perform. Just be sure to get approval from your doctor before giving them a try.
Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose
First, sit on your yoga mat with your legs pointed straight in front of you. You can sit on a folded blanket for added comfort. Bend each knee, keeping your feet on the floor. Slowly slide your left foot under your right leg. Keep your right knee pointing toward the ceiling.
Take a couple of deep breaths and as you exhale, slowly twist your upper body in the direction of your right thigh. Press your right hand on the floor just behind the right buttock. Put the upper portion of your left arm outside the right thigh, near the right knee. Pull your chest toward your right thigh.
Next, press the inside portion of your right foot on the floor, and lengthen your chest. Lean the upper portion of your torso slightly toward your shoulder blades. Twist your torso gently to the right, around the top portion of the spine.
Each time you inhale, try to lift your chest a bit higher if possible. You can push your fingers into the mat if that helps. Then, twist a slight bit more around the spine each time you exhale. Try to hold the twist for 30 seconds or so, release, and then return to the starting spot. Then perform the pose in the opposite direction, twisting toward the left.3,4
For this yoga pose, you’ll begin in a seated position with your legs pointed straight out in front of you. Shift your weight to your right buttock slightly, bend each knee, and swing each leg to the left. Position your left ankle on the arch of your right foot.
Next, breathe deeply. Feel your breath moving through the top of your chest. Exhale, and gently twist your torso to the right. During this move, try to keep your left buttock as close to the floor as possible. Move your hips and pelvis toward the floor. This will help lengthen the lower portion of the spine.
Move your left hand under your right knee. Put your right hand on the floor next to your right buttock. Pull the left shoulder back just a bit and twist your chest to the right, rotating around the upper portion of the spine.
Hold this pose for between 30 seconds and one minute, and then release. Like the Half Lord of the Fishes pose, you’ll then perform Bharadvaja’s Twist in the opposite direction.5
Practice Safety In Yoga
Whether you try basic yoga poses, like the mountain pose, or any other sort of yoga postures, don’t start yoga without speaking with your doctor first.
This will especially be the case if you’ve recently suffered any sort of injury to your arms or legs, or if you’ve been diagnosed with any sort of spine condition. You want to make sure it will be safe to perform any spinal twist or any other kind of yoga move.
There are a lot of benefits associated with yoga, but you can’t risk hurting your spine or any other part of your body. You should also consider speaking with a yoga teacher to make sure you’re using the right technique.
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