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Twisting — Adds Spice to Yoga Practices

Think about it … what would life be like if we couldn’t twist? If we wanted to look to the left or right, we’d have to turn our entire body instead of just our head. We wouldn’t be able to twist around from the front seat of our cars to get something in the back. The way we walk and move would look very different. We’d look more like robots.

An ability to twist makes daily activities more efficient and enjoyable. And, in yoga, twisting adds interest and depth to our practice. It allows us to rotate our spines and, in fact, spinal rotation is the primary purpose of twists. Twisting helps keep the spine strong and flexible and the “wringing” motion removes toxins from the body and improves circulation.

Twisting can be risky for the low back and sacrum so Viniyoga teaches the importance of warming up the spine and shoulders and stabilizing the hips before moving to twisting postures. For example, a practice would begin with gentle forward and/or back bends never twists.

In Viniyoga, we move into a twist on exhale and come out of it on inhale. The exhale begins in the lower abs and the key to twisting is to control the spinal rotation from the abs. In other words, don’t initiate the twist through force of leverage from the shoulders and arms and/or pelvis and legs. You can use them as leverage secondarily to intensify the twist but not to generate it.

In addition to controlling spinal rotation, contracting the abs during exhale, protects the low back and sacrum.

Common types of twisting postures are standing, supine and seated. They are a nice addition to any practice, complementing the more symmetrical movements of flexion and extension.  


Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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