There are some days as a busy yoga teacher, when you can feel a little slow and dare I say it, lazy. It is on these sorts of days that I depend on a little yoga sequence that I call “sit and twist”. The bonus, is that it’s also a crowd favourite and the “feel good” effects of the class are long lasting.
So, for the next few months, I am going to talk about some of the yoga asana that depend on sitting and twisting. We will be focussing on a healthy movement of the spine and the relationship of the hips and the shoulders. I think of the spine like the super highway of our body; if the highway is congested, traffic does not flow!
This month let’s look at Ardha Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes). This posture focuses on the upper back; however, it has so many other amazing benefits as follows:
• Stimulates the liver and kidneys
• Stretches the shoulders, hips and neck
• Massages the organs of the digestive system
• Brings life back to the spine
• Relieves fatigue, backache and menstrual discomfort
• Therapeutic for asthma, sciatica and infertility
Follow the steps as follows and your spine will love you for it: Sit on the floor with both knees bent, feet on the floor and seating bones sinking (sit on a folded blanket for extra support).
Slide your left foot under the right leg to the outside of the right hip, your left little toe line is resting on the floor. Step the right foot over the left leg and place the sole of the right foot on the floor close to the left hip, your right knee will be pointing upward.
Inhale and twist the left shoulder to inner right thigh as you raise your right arm. Exhale and place the right hand behind the right buttock. The left upper arm presses into the outside of the right thigh near the knee (see photo one) for an easier option (see photo two) hugs the right knee close to the left shoulder. When you are feeling confident you can change your hand grip. The left arm threads under the right knee as the right hand reaches around the back to link with the fingers of the left hand (see photo three).
Roll the right shoulder down the back and look over the right shoulder. Keep both sitting bones on the floor. Keep the spine long and straight, imagine the crown of your head is being suspended from above.
Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and repeat on the other side.
See you next month, happy stretching!
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. she offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions. Contact: www.mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086 276 9174.