by Mona Keddy
In our asana practice, twists are powerful detoxifying poses. The twisting action squeezes and wrings out our organs. Upon release of the twist, the organ is flushed with fresh blood and oxygen. This “rinsing and soaking” action is a natural and effective detoxification for the organs and glands of the body. Twists also free up musculature around the waist and ribs allowing for greater mobility of the diaphragm and expansion of the lungs. Breathing, another natural detoxification process, is improved.
In the sequence below, use the following suggestions to improve your twists:
- Stabilize the foundation of the twist
- Extend the spine with the inhalation and twist on the exhalation
- Lengthen both sides of the torso equally and initiate the twist from the side you are twisting away from (i.e. if you are twisting to the right, initiate the twist from the left side)
- Use the arms to support extension in the torso, not to initiate the twist
- Surya Namaskar to warm up
For the standing poses, stabilize the legs and focus on twisting the torso so the heart center turns up to the sky. Placing the back foot at the wall will encourage stability in the foundation of these poses.
- Crescent side bend
- Trikonasana (triangle pose)
- Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)
- Parshvottanasana (pyramid pose)
- Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose)
- Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (revolved side angle pose)
For the seated twists, keep the pelvis stable as part of the foundation.
- Bharadvajasana I
- Marichyasana III
- Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Setu Bandha – supported with a block under the sacrum (bridge pose)
- Adho Mukha Sukhasana (cross-legged forward bend)
- Sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes and notice the shift in your breath and other effects of your practice