Yoga twists can have a wealth of benefits for your core, posture, and organs. These yoga poses can vary from the simple to the advanced variations, and although advanced twists can be difficult to work up to, they’re worth it for the health benefits alone.
Twists are yoga postures that move the shoulders to face the opposite direction of the hips.
Different twists target different areas, such as the upper, middle or lower sections of your torso, and each advanced twist has their own benefits.
Here’s a low down on the benefits of advanced twists:
All twists, including advanced twists, have the result of compressing your digestive organs and placing them under weight. Compression causes a lack of circulation - but don’t worry. When you release your advanced twist post, there is a rush of blood to the compressed digestive organs. This fresh blood delivers more oxygen and nutrients to your digestive organs, increasing their ability to function and helping to aid digestive issues.
Another benefit of this compression and release, and delivery of fresh blood to your digestive organs, is a detox effect. When you release new blood supply into your digestive tract, you can help to cleanse your cells of any waste products and toxins. This is due to cellular detoxification, caused by the increase and improvement of your circulation.
Increase Spinal Range of Motion
Our spine is worked hard every day keeping us upright, and without proper exercise, the muscles that keep the spine surrounded can become stiff and inflexible. Overtime this will lead to a decreased range of motion, and can cause pain and discomfort. Advanced twists keeps the spine moving, and increases your spinal range of motion to decrease the risk of this.
Reduces Back Pain
We put our backs through a lot, and a lot of the causes of bad posture also lead to back pain - slumping over chairs and drooping our shoulders. Yoga twists, especially the more advanced ones, can help to strengthen your back muscles that you use every day, and help improve your posture - leading to less back pain!
Release Stress and Anxiety
If you suffer from anxiety or are feeling stressed, add some twists into your yoga flow. As these postures open up your upper torso and back, the release pent up tension on your body. This in turn can relieve stress, help to decrease anxious thoughts, and generally improve your mental state.
As with any poses, you shouldn’t go straight into advanced twists. There are a few things to keep in mind when going into a yoga twist, and here’s our tips to help you improve, and move to more advanced variants of twisted poses.
Tips for practicing advanced twists:
Lengthen Before you Twist
It’s important to create space and freedom within the spine and torso before a twist. Make sure to lengthen your body and your spine by pulling your crown up towards the ceiling and your tailbone down towards the floor. Really create space in your spine, and maintain this length throughout your pose.
It’s important to breathe through the poses in yoga, but this can be tricky with advanced twists as they compress the diaphragm. Try to lengthen the spine some more when you inhale, and use your exhale to twist and revolve deeper into the pause. If you continue breathing and moving in this pattern, you can get deeper into the pose in a more relaxed way.
Stabilize your Lower Spine
To protect your back during a twist, make sure you stabilise your lower spine as you move your upper spine. This helps prevent injury in advanced twists as it anchors your lower back while your upper back twists. You should also try to stabilize areas that are prone to injury like your neck. These areas move more easily than your other parts of your spine, and can sometimes take on strain when doing advanced twist. Try to be careful not to over revolve these ares, and focus on the areas of the spine that are less mobile.
Twist Both Sides
You should practice each advanced twist twice, one on each side, so you don’t become imbalanced. Twists are asymmetrical poses, so try to spend an equal amount of time on both sides. However, if you feel tight or stiff on one side of your body, it’s okay to focus a little more on that side, to help balance out.
Take Care when Combining Poses
Advanced twist poses often incorporate forward bends. These are advanced poses that you should ease yourself into, but if you’re ready, be aware of the strain that can be put on your back. If you have lower back issues, or are new to twists and folds, progress slowly, and take the advice of an instructor who can help you on form.
Finally, enjoy the benefits of twists! If you want to take advantage, take a look at this weeks classes of twists, which will rejuvenate you, letting you release the old to make space for the new!
By Amy Cavill
Practicing twisting right now, to experience the benefits for yourself!
Anytime Detox Flow with Jackie Casal Mahrou
Get Long and Twisty with Elise Fabricant
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