Twist and Detox

We are quickly approaching the Holiday season!  And typically with the Holiday season comes more social scenes, parties and lounging time.  We may find ourselves eating foods that are rich, sugary and outside of our typical diet. We may also find ourselves sitting and relaxing a lot with family and friends.  When the body becomes stagnant things like digestion, circulation and stiffness set in.  We can enhance our detoxing, digestion, circulation and muscle elasticity with a little bit of Yoga twists this Holiday season!  A Yoga twist is very beneficial for the entire being.  First, a Yoga twist targets digestion.  When we twist we compress the digestive organs and limit the flow of circulation.  The juiciness of the Yoga twist comes when we release the twist.  A full, fresh supply floods the digestive organs bringing with it more nutrients and more oxygen while the old supply is squeezed out.  Twisting is also extremely beneficial for the suppleness of the spine.  We keep the muscles and surrounding connective tissue open and stretched when we twist.  Anatomically, Yoga twisting is also very good for opening the chest which eases anxiety and depression enabling us to step into the world with more ease and confidence.

Why We Always Twist to the Right First

Always start a twist by compressing the right side of the body first.  Anatomically our colon, or digestive system, ascends on the right, transverses across the top, and descends on the left.  Therefore, we always want to twist right first and then left as to go with the flow of digestion.

Matsyendrasana ~ Seated Spinal Twist ~ Anatomical Alignment 

In the photograph is the Yoga posture, Matsyendrasana, or Seated Spinal Twist.  Begin by sitting on both Sitting Bones evenly.  Extend your left leg long from the hip, flex from the heel of the left foot and engage mindfully through the left quadricep.  Pull the right knee into your chest.  In variation one, you will leave the right foot to the inside of the left thigh with the right toes pointing toward the front of your space or the same direction that your left leg is extended to.  To work a little bit more challengingly, pull your right leg in toward your chest and lift it over the left leg placing it on the outside of the left thigh or calf (never at the knee joint) with the toes facing forward.  Then, lift up and out of the waist and twist toward the bent leg ensuring that you are twisting from the bottom of the spine to the top.  Place your right hand behind your hips and gently push down to lift up.  You can place your left upper arm on the outside of the right upper thigh with the fingers pointing toward the sky. Keep the Collarbones nice and open and continue lengthening from the Sitting Bones to the top of the head.  Breath gently and deeply while acknowledging how the twist feels in your body.  Gently release from the top of the spine to the bottom of the spine and twist in the opposite direction creating a de-rotation before coming into the opposite side. When you are finished both sides pull the knees into the chest and give yourself a gentle hug.  Happy Twisting!