Detoxing has become all the rage! People doing all different kinds of cleanses, colonics, cryogenics, detoxifying diets and foods, and the list goes on and on. To each it’s own. I truly believe we should all be doing whatever works for us, but some of these things are not available to the masses. So what if you could detoxify right in the comfort of your living room, for FREE! Wanna know how? Keep reading…
I’m 100% positive that every single person reading this blog that has an Instagram account has seen all the cool yoga pages and posts. People bending themselves into all sorts of cool shapes… it’s like we’re all contortionists. I think it’s cool myself BUT I wish that we talked a little bit more about the benefits of some of this poses. Traditionally yoga was not created to look cool but to aid in the health of its practisioners, mentally and physically.
Twisting yoga poses are detoxifying, and this my friends is how you can learn to detox in the comfort of your own home, or a studio if you have the means, OR… You could also call me and take some private sessions and I’ll show you how it’s done. So here’s what’s up with twists:
Fist and foremost: CAUTION!
You should always consult your doctor before you start a new routine. If you’re dealing with something more severe like a drug or alcohol addiction you should seek professional help to aid in your detox program. If you have back problems or injuries (bulging/herniated discs, osteoporosis, facet joint syndrome, spondylolisthesis, spondylolyis, etc.) please avoid all twisting poses until you speak to your doctor first. If you are pregnant you should speak to your provider as well but open twists are commonly practiced by pregnant women.
Benefits of Twisting Poses
- Digestion: Always twist to the right first – Combined with deep breathing, twists and stretches that target the abdominal organs can help with digestion. Twists basically massage and “wring out” intestinal toxins that may be stuck or stagnant.
- Intervertebral Disc Health: When you twist imagine wringing out a wet rag or towel. This type of “squeeze and soak” action is happening in the spine and discs when we twist. A discs role is to act as a shock absorber in the spine which is crucial. Discs rely on surrounding tissues to provide the nutrients and fluids that help keep them healthy. When we twist we assist the movement and absorption of these fluids.
- Lymphatic Fluids: The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system and a vital part of the immune system. It’s a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called “lymph” directionally towards the heart. One of it’s main functions is to defend the immune system. Lymphatic congestion, a condition in which the lymphatic system fails to drain properly, allows toxins and cellular waste products to accumulate in the body. This can cause; swollen tonsils and reoccurring sore throats, swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, and/or breasts, and a slower healing process. Twisting gets the lymphatic system moving again, which can benefit your overall health.
- Warm & Strengthen Muscles
- Back Health: Twists relieve tightness that causes pain. They help to elongate the spine, which can help to improve your posture and breathing.
…and these are just a few benefits.
Alignment is Key
Here are some tips to help you practice twists safely. It’s always a good idea to take a few classes either at a studio or with a personal trainer so you can learn the basics to avoid getting hurt.
- Maintain stability of the pelvis (see “Pelvic” alignment cues for the specific pose you’re doing)
- Lengthen the body evenly through the entire torso (front, sides, and back of the body)
- Encourage the twist to come from the center of the body by engaging the abdominal and spinal muscles. The twist should come from the torso before it comes from the arms, shoulder or legs. Avoid cranking the head or shoulders around to achieve a twist, let it come from the torso.
- Twist by using spinal rotation vs. movement in the hips. Avoid collapsing the waist or sticking the waist out. Grow long in these poses, lifting up evenly.
- Keep the neck long and relaxed
- Work your shoulder blades a lot, they should be active. Drawing the shoulder blades into the back while keeping the chest and upper back broad. Avoid rounding in the back and allowing the chest to sink. This will cause compression of the spine and inhibit your breathing.
- Twist on an exhale. Elongate the spine on an inhale and revolve (twist) on the exhale. Do not hold your breathe while twisting.
Without further ado here is a Yoga Journal link with some twisting poses you can practice at home. If you click on a pose that you’d like to practice it will bring you to a new page with step-by-step instructions, which is key to practicing these poses safely. Please warm up before you practice any of these poses. You can easily find twisting sequences online that can help aid a specific need and they will most likely include a warm up before the twists begin. There are also a lot of great yoga books out there that have all kinds of sequences with very detailed instructions and include; benefits, risk factors, alignment cues for each part of the body, contraindications and modifications as well. As I mentioned above, taking a yoga class with a professional teacher would be beneficial and as always you can reach out to me for advice, questions or sessions as well. Follow my blog on WordPress and shoot me your information on my Contact page. I’m looking forward to helping you along this journey.
Enjoy and be safe!