Great Twist for a Healthy Back

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Yoga Practice Tips | 0 comments

Great Twist for a Healthy Back

Standing Chair Twist / Maricyasana III Variation

The practice of yoga promises longevity to our spines by keeping them supple and strong. To maintain suppleness of the spine everyone needs to twist. Oftentimes, a back injury is caused by a twisting and/or lifting movement, resulting in torque and instability in the lumbar vertebrae that are involved. Consequently, chiropractors and physical therapists frequently recommend their clients avoid any twisting movements for an undetermined period of time. As reasonable as that request is, it doesn’t address the necessity to return suppleness to all areas of the spine in order to create balanced movement and healing.

Twisting poses are necessary yet challenging for the spine, as it’s difficult to maintain length while you twist. For anyone who has experienced back pain or weakness in their spine, many of the twisting poses seem inaccessible. This particular pose is engineered to maintain the length and space in your spine while you twist, making it one of the safest twists for students of every level and back conditionThis pose relieves tension along the spine by stretching the very small muscles that connect one vertebra to another. It also builds tone in the legs to help you gain length in your spine. The two photos show the correct alignment and then the incorrect alignment that most students fall into. Follow the instructions below and feel your way into this wonderful pose. Your spine will thank you!

Standing Chair twist

  1. Begin by placing a chair against the wall with a block on the seat.
  2. Stand to the side and close to the chair with your heels elevated on a rolled-up mat.
  3. Place the foot that is closest to the wall on the block: in this photo, the left leg.
  4. Stand in the back of your right leg by aligning the center of your hip with your knee and ankle.
  5. Lift your chest and spine from the bottom of your belly and roll your shoulders back.
  6. With your right hand, hold the left knee; place your left hand on the wall behind your left shoulder.
  7. Imagine a line from your right inner ankle to the crown of your head, aligning the center of each of the 4 diaphragms. Namely; the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm, the base of your throat, and the center of the crown of your head.
  8. As you exhale, twist toward the wall, turning from the bottom of your belly. Keep your left knee stationary and parallel to the wall as you turn.
  9. Turn your spine around your centerline. With each exhale, empty your belly and continue to twist your spine incrementally from the bottom to the top.
  10. Hold for 3–5 breaths. Repeat each side twice.

Inner Action: Lower your left hip to balance 3:00 and 9:00 as you lift your left ribs up and turn any amount more. Ie: make your hip bones level and parallel to the floor.

Hint: Avoid leaning forward onto the top of your right thigh and mis-aligning your spine, which can create low back pressure or an uneven turning potentially stressing weaker areas. Pull the top thigh back by micro-bending your right knee, and vertically lift your lower belly to make your leg and spine straight.

Even though the untrained eye might miss how in the photo below the weight of the pelvis is being held by the front of the thigh, if you look closely you can see feel how the bodies weight is not in the heel and the lower spine is collapsing forward.

IMG_1069Astanding tw incorrect

 

My New Book – Healing Our backs with YogaTM: a layman’s guide to back pain relief will be released in March 2016. To order your copy in advance click here.

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