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It is love alone that leads to right action. What brings order in the world is to love and let love do what it will. ”

—Jiddu Krishnamurti

Everybody loves a great twist: a deep twist in your spine, a surprising plot twist in a story, a twist of fate. One of the best things you can ever do for your back is stretch with a twist.


Why are twists so important?


Blood supply to the discs of our spine stops around the age of 20. Our discs can slowly degenerate by becoming drier and flatter. Through gentle twists, we can help the discs to lubricate and increase the blood flow to the areas surrounding the disc space.


Whether you have a back ache, a headache or stiffness in your neck and shoulders, you may be surprised how these six simple twists can alleviate your pain and suffering. Even the discomfort of scoliosis may by greatly alleviated through the skilful application of a well-adjusted twist.


Each disc in your spine is supposed to rotate about 2 degrees. However, due to our sedentary culture, we often become stuck, literally and figuratively.


In addition to helping your bones, these twists massage your internal organs, especially your spleen and pancreas on your left side and your liver and gallbladder over on the right, as well as your intestines.


Even if your back is perfect, you can literally wring out stress and emotional tension.


Remember to breathe deeply and relax, holding the poses for three to five breaths if you are a beginner. More advanced students can hold the poses for a minute or longer.



Traction Twist

Traction Twist

Traction Twist. This twist is an essential twist for anyone with low back pain. It unlocks your sacroiliac joint, the joint at the base of your spine. Many people are not aware that their SI joint is locked, but holding this twist may be the magic you need to feel better.


Start by lying on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent.


Bring your right foot off your yoga mat.


Flex both your feet. When you flex your feet, you activate your hips, as this stretch will also open your hips.


Drop both knees to your left.


Keep your right knee in line with your nose.


Pull your belly button to your spine.


Repeat on the left side.


Traction Twist With Rotation

Traction Twist With Rotation

2. Traction Twist With An Extra Rotation.


Sit on your yoga mat with your knees bent.


Just as you did in your basic traction twist, bring your right foot off the mat.


Drop both knees to your left.


Then rotate to your left, providing a gentle twist to your entire spine.


Repeat on the other side.


Standing Chair Twist

Standing Chair Twist

3. Standing Chair Twist (Maricyasana) Next To A Wall.


Put a chair next to a wall.


Put a yoga egg (www.threeminuteegg.com) on the chair.


Stand with your right side next to the wall.


Put your right foot on the yoga egg.


Now engage your left leg as much as possible. Drive your left heel into the floor and lift the quadriceps. Reach tall through the crown of your head.


Then place both your hands on the wall and begin to rotate towards the wall.


Push your left ribs forward and pull your right ribs back.


Repeat on the other side.


Bonus tip: You can do this standing twist in your car after a long drive.


Just open the door of your car and put your foot on the driver’s seat. Grab hold of the hood of your car behind you and twist.


Seated Twist With Yoga Egg

Seated Twist With Yoga Egg

4. Sage Twist On a Chair (Bharadvajasana).


This twist opens your chest. It’s a great one to do at work after you have been sitting too long.


I like to place a yoga egg between my knees to keep my pelvis in perfect alignment, so that I don’t throw my sacroiliac joint out of balance by twisting.


Yoga eggs are great training wheels to keep your poses in good form, as healing your body is all about finding the alignment.


Sit on the side of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. If you are short, you may have to sit slightly forward.


Place the yoga egg between your knees.


Now grab the back of your chair and begin to rotate.


Repeat on the other side.


Seated Chair Twist Variation

Seated Chair Twist Variation

5. Sage Twist On A Chair (Bharadvajasana).


Sit with the seam of your pants against the right side of your chair.


Have your legs at a 90 degree open angle.


Reach tall through your left hand, lengthening your spine.


Place your left hand on the back of the chair to push gently into the rotation.


Meanwhile, place the back of your right hand inside your right knee.


Push your right ribs forward as you pull your left ribs back.


Repeat on the other side.


Scissor Twist

Scissor Twist

6. Scissor Twist.


I love scissor twists!


Place your yoga mat long-way next to a wall.


Stand on your mat with your right shoulder against the wall.


Place your right foot forward and bring your left foot back, turning your left foot forwards about 45 degrees.


Now bring your right arm parallel to the ground against the wall.


Bring your left arm parallel to the ground in front of you.


Twist, turning your body gently to the right.


Repeat to the other side.

Bonus Twist: Maricyasana III

Bonus Twist: Maricyasana III

Bonus Twist: Maricyasana III


Once you get good at twists and your spine is healthy, you can go deeper into your twists.


Be sure not to do this twist if you have herniated disks in your lower back, because seated forward folds incorrectly instructed are one of the simple ways people tend to injure their back even further in a class with an uneducated teacher.


Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.


Bend your right knee, placing the foot flat on the floor.


Reach tall through your right arm.


Wrap your right arm around your right knee.


Bring your left hand behind you.


Your right hand will grab your left wrist.


If you can’t reach all the way, hold a yoga strap in your right hand and grab the strap with the left.


Enjoy the release of tension way deep down in your body.


Repeat to the other side.

I am trained in postural analysis. Email me at Catherine@totalfitness.net or call 678-612-8816 to set up an appointment. Your body is unique to you. What may be safe or appropriate for someone else may not be safe or appropriate for you. Learn how to exercise safely to build muscle, reduce pain and improve your posture.

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