Practicing yoga promotes a healthy body…inside and out. Yoga supports the body’s natural detoxification process—eliminating the body of wastes and toxins. Twists, are a category of asanas that assist this process exceptionally well.
Performing Twists Safely
Twists are multidimensional literally—how your body is in space and the benefits they provide. Keys to safe twists are:
1. Elongated spine
2. Engaged core
3. Stable foundation, keep pelvis squared and level
4. Patience and breath-work
The #1 thing you DO NOT want to do: Forcing or cranking your spine to twist beyond what your core muscles do by using your arms. Come into a twist slowly, using your breath—lengthening the spine on your inhales, twisting on the exhales. When you’re at your maximum twist you can deepened, staying in place, by drawing your belly button in towards the spine as you exhale.
Benefits of twists include:
1. Massaging the abdominal organs
2. Helping with digestion
3. Releasing tension in the spinal muscles
4. Aiding detoxification of the body
Yoga aids the body’s natural detoxification process via the circulatory, respiratory, digestive and lymph systems. To understand how twists facilitate this cleansing action, imagine your torso as a wash cloth and the twisting movement like wringing out that wash cloth. Twists impart a rotational squeeze. Untwisting floods your internal organs with blood with an onslaught of oxygen and nutrients. Twists cleanse and stimulate your internal organs, improving their function. The liver, in particular, is critical for detoxifying the body. It filters the blood and converts food and other substances into forms the body can safely eliminate. The liver is a vitally important organ in maintaining health.
If Life has you feeling sluggish and stale try this simple twist:
Parivrtta Utkatsana or Revolved Chair Pose.
Stand in Tadasana, Mountain pose
Inhale, bring arms overhead
Exhale, bend knees coming into Utkatasana.
-Knees are over the center of your feet
-Weight shifted back to your heels
Take 3-5 breath cycles
Bring palms together and hands to heart center
-Focus on lengthening your spine
-Engage your core muscles
On an exhale, slowly begin to twist to the right
-Use as many breath cycles as you need
-Keep pressing down firmly and evenly through your feet
-Keep your knees level—do not let one shift ahead of the other
-Confine the twist to your thoracic spine and shoulder girdle
Take 3-5 more breath cycles
-Extending through the crown with your inhales
-Drawing your belly button to your spine on the exhales, deepening the twist
-Be mindful you’re not bending
To come out of the twist, return to Utkatsana and then Tadasana. Repeat on the left side. Include twists in your practice and remove toxins leaving you renewed, rejuvenated and refreshed!
Thank you, Karen, for providing us with these excellent tips on how to detox while practicing yoga!