The Yin yoga exercise we will look at this month is a great way to keep the spinal highway of the body clear and free-moving.
“Twisted Roots” is the name of our asana this month and it does just that! This posture twists the body to manipulate a deep release in all three sections of the spine, from top to bottom: the lumber (lower), thoracic (middle) and cervical (top).
I like to practice spinal twists throughout the day and start with my first twist when I am still waking up in the morning.
I put my body into a mild twist, supported by pillows under my knees and shoulders and lay and hold this position on both right and left for a few minutes. It really helps to wake the body up and get it prepared for the day.
During the day, every hour or so, I will remind myself to do some nice simple basic standing twists – turning my head to look over each shoulder, while feet and hips face forward.
Then as I am getting into bed for the night, I will once again put myself into a spinal twist and let my body know that it is now time to rest and rejuvenate during sleep.
If you try to maintain an ongoing spinal twist routine, I promise you (and I don’t promise often) that you will feel better in your everyday movements and happier with the general health of your spine.
This twisted roots pose is the Yin yoga way to allow an ongoing happy spine. How, you ask? Well let’s look at a few of the benefits of this awesome pose before we talk about it step by step:
•The twist brings equilibrium in the nervous system.
•Releases tension in the spine.
•Helps to relieve sciatica.
•Stimulates the obliques, gluts and IT band.
•Massages the stomach and cures gastritis.
•Twisting the spine stimulates the urinary bladder lines
•Opens the chest and stretches the intercostal muscles
•The arms above head opens several meridians in the arms that stimulate the heart, lungs and small intestines
•Twists compress the stomach and massage the internal organs.
•The twist of the rib cage stimulates the gall bladder
•Assists the shoulder joint and upper spine, as well as all the tissues in the upper chest, breast, and shoulder.
Wow! What a list of great benefits for such a simple posture. Let’s follow these steps to make this pose an addition to our lives:
1. Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor.
2. Cross the right leg over the left – double wrap the right leg around the left to deepen the stretch. Beginners to this pose having difficulties with the leg cross over will keep the right ankle flush with the left calf.
3. Open your arms out to the side, wide, with palms facing upward. Interlock your fingers together at the back of the head and keep your elbows wide and relaxed.
4. Inhale and pull your stomach back to the spine, face your head right and roll your legs left. Beginners can place a pillow under their knees to bridge the gap between floor and knees.
5. Your head looks right as the right shoulder continues to sink.
6. Hold this posture from 3-5 minutes, inhale as you slowly release from the posture and repeat.
“Yoga is more about making the twisted mind straight rather than the twisted body,” Manish Sargam. Happy stretching. Metta, Kim oxo.
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. She offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions: mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086 276 9174.