Guest Author - Tracy Webb
The spine is very important to our health, and mobility. Practicing spinal twists is a great way to keep it strong, and functional. Many yoga postures involve spinal movements through forward bends, backward bends, side bends, and twists. They are all beneficial for improving posture, and increasing flexibility.
One of my favorite postures is the supine Spinal Twist. By twisting the upper, and lower torso the spine becomes more elastic. Twisting in this way is beneficial for the ribs, and lungs as it opens the chest, and assists with breathing difficulties
The spinal twist also has a beneficial effect on both sides of the abdomen, stimulating the colon, the stomach, and the abdominal organs. This in turn assists with constipation, and bloating of the stomach.
Both the arms, and legs are involved with this posture bringing positive effects to both. The arms are stretched out to the side, which stimulates the hands, wrists, shoulders, and elbows. While the leg muscles are strengthened, and become supple through being bent during the whole posture.
Practicing The Supine Spinal Twist is simple.
• Lay flat on your back keeping the toes, and feet together. Take a couple of deep breaths.
• On an inhale bend both legs, and bring the heels up to touch the hips.
• Bring both arms out to the side at shoulder height, and stretch them as far as you can.
• Keep palms facing upwards.
• As you inhale take both knees to the right side. Try to get them to touch the floor. At the same time turn your head to the left side. Try to get your ear on the floor.
• Breathe into the stretch and stay for a short time.
• Slowly bring your knees back to the center keeping knees and legs together.
• Repeat on the other side.
• You may repeat several times slowly, and consciously using the breath.
It is important throughout this posture that the feet, knees, and legs stay together. One leg rests on top of the other during each twist. The heels stay together at all times. The most benefit is gained from this posture when we stretch to our full ability. Breathing into the twist allows for a deeper stretch, and a stronger spine.
I would recommend laying in Shavasan for a few minutes after this posture. Shavasan (Corpse Pose) assists with settling the spine after the deep twists, and helps the body absorb all the benefits the posture can bring.