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How to Do Simple Upright Yoga Twist Postures

Ropes get their strength from the twisted strands that comprise them. Yoga twisting postures have the same positive effect. When thinking about the human body and mind, people often associate the word twist with pain or something undesirable. This is not the case with Yoga.

People say things like, “She twisted her ankle,” “He has a twisted mind,” or “She accused him of twisting her words.” But twisting isn’t all bad. When done properly, Yogic twists bring strength to your body, especially to the weak spots (notably the lower back). True enough, twisting is part of your everyday movements. But unless your muscles are well trained, you can easily injure yourself.

Easy chair twist

This seated posture is an excellent way for a beginner to achieve a good twist safely before moving on to more complex methods of twisting. And, you can use this simple, effective posture to liberate your spine while at the office without drawing too much attention to yourself. Your spine will thank you!

Twist mainly from your shoulders; the head and neck come along for the ride.

  1. Sit sideways on a chair with the chair back to your left, your feet flat on the floor, and your heels directly below your knees.

  2. Exhale, turn to the left, and hold the sides of the chair back with your hands.

  3. As you inhale, extend or lift your spine upward.

  4. As you exhale, twist your torso and head farther to the left.

  5. Repeat Steps 1 through 4, gradually twisting farther with each exhalation, for 3 breaths (don’t force it) and then hold the twist for 6 to 8 breaths.

  6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 on the opposite side.

If your feet aren’t comfortably on the floor for the easy chair twist, elevate them with a folded blanket or a phone book.

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Easy sitting twist

After you can twist comfortably while seated on a chair, you can transfer your newly gained skill to the floor and try the following exercise. Its effect is similar to that of the easy chair twist, and it fits nicely into a regular Yoga practice, a large part of which may be done on the floor.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs in a simple cross-legged position and extend your spine upward, nice and tall.

  2. Place your left hand palm down on top of your right knee.

  3. Place your right hand palm down on the floor behind your right hip to prop yourself up.

  4. As you inhale, extend your spine upward.

  5. As you exhale, twist your torso and head to the right.

    image1.jpg
  6. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for 3 breaths, gradually twisting farther with each exhalation (don’t force it), and then hold the twist for 6 to 8 breaths.

  7. Repeat Steps 1 through 6 on the opposite side.

If you have difficulty sitting upright in this seated twist, use blankets or pillows to make your hips even with your knees.

The sage twist

The easy chair twist and the easy sitting twist are the simplest yogic twists. By changing the position of your legs, you can alter the level of difficulty and also enhance the overall benefit. The sage twist does just that to give you extra rewards for your investment.

  1. Sit on the floor with both legs extended forward; bend your right knee and place your right foot on the floor just inside your left thigh, with your toes facing forward.

  2. Place your right hand, palm down, on the floor behind you; wrap the palm of your left hand around the side of your right knee.

  3. As you inhale, extend or lift your spine upward.

  4. As you exhale, twist your torso and head to the right.

    image2.jpg
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4, gradually twisting farther with each exhalation, for 3 breaths (don’t force it) and then hold the twist for 6 to 8 breaths.

  6. Repeat Steps 1 through 5 on the opposite side.

If you have difficulty sitting upright in this seated twist, sit on blankets or pillows until your hips are even with your knees.

This posture is a variation of the classic posture called maricyasana. The Sanskrit word marici (pronounced mah-ree-chee) means “ray of light” and is the name of an ancient sage.

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