a twist a day....

....keeps the physical therapist, doctor and psychologist away. I speak the truth! But allow me to explain. There are many different types of twisting yoga asanas, from gentle lower back rotations to challenging full spinal twists. When practiced mindfully and carefully, honoring any injuries or discomfort, twisting yoga poses can keep you healthy and offer an array of health benefits.

a twist a day
Sadie Nardini twisting in Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

1.) Twists directly stimulate the digestive system and circulation. That's a pretty big deal considering that 70% of your immune system resides in your digestive tract. Proper circulation allows the body to function properly as a whole, stay fully hydrated and increase joint mobility.

2.) Twisting yoga poses actually massage inner muscle and internal organs. Cool, huh? As we compress our torso and diaphragm in a twist, fresh oxygen and blood flushes out toxins and impurities in areas that don't normally get much attention. Deep twists allow you to wring out and refresh your organs! Ahhh!

3.) Relieve back pain. We all have it sometimes, don't we? That poor ol' lower back is responsible for supporting a considerable amount of weight as we stand, sit (or slouch) throughout the day. Pressure on the lower vertebrae restricts circulation to the entire area, but twisting can help relax surrounding muscles, restore circulation, increase range of motion and aid in correct posture. Woohoo!

4.) Tone abdominal muscles. Although we keep our bellies soft in twists, twisting deeply engages and stretches all of the abdominal muscles. With regular twisting practice, abs will lengthen and tone naturally.

5.) Reduce stress and anxiety. As with any yoga pose, the practitioner works to focus on the present and quiet the chattering mind. But twists are especially beneficial for stress because they feel so restorative! With each inhale, focus on lengthening the crown of the head up and out, lifting the spine, and with each exhale, twist a little deeper.

Challenge yourself to practice just one twist a day and see how it can change your practice and revitalize your health! As we head into fall allergies, cold and flu season, stay tuned for a more detailed post on yoga for a healthy immune system.