Sivananda yoga

Twist Yourself – The Half Spinal Twist

February 12, 2013

When was the last time you gave your spine a good twist? Try it and see how good it feels!

After the forward and backward bending of the spine, the spinal twist – which is the next pose in the Sivananda sequence – gives a lateral stretch to the vertebrae, back muscles and hips. Apart from these I like it, because it’s also a wonderful pose if you have stiff shoulders, as it opens them up.

How to come into the pose:

  1. Sit on your heals with the back erect. Keeping both knees bent, lower the hips to the ground so that you are sitting to the left of the feet.
  2. Raise the right knee and place the right foot flat on the floor. Allow the left leg to turn on its side, with the left foot below the right leg.
  3. Place the right foot on the ground outside the left thigh. Place the right hand flat on the floor behind the back, but not too far away from the body, as this will make you lean rather than twist, compressing the spine instead of giving it a lateral stretch. Raise the left arm and straighten up over the head.
  4. Bring the left arm over the right side of the right knee. Reach around to catch hold of the right ankle. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds, working up to 1 minute, breathing deeply. Release, and repeat on the other side.

Some benefits of the half spinal twist:

  • Helps to keep spine elastic by retaining side-to-side mobility
  • Helps relieving muscular problems in back and hips
  • Removes adhesion in joints caused by rheumatism
  • Makes the joints very active
  • Tones the roots of the spinal nerves and the sympathetic nervous system and brings a fresh supply of blood
  • Massages the abdominal muscles, relieving digestive problems
  • Benefits the gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, liver and bowels

It also helps to cure disorders of the nervous system and brings peace of mind.

Make sure your buttocks stay on the ground, your back hand is close to your body and no leaning back.

If you are a beginner or can’t keep the buttocks on the ground, you can stretch out one leg on the floor and bring the other over the other knee. (Reference)

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