“Come on, baby
Let’s do the twist…
Take me by my little hand
And go like this…”
Even if you weren’t around to take Chubby Checker up on his invitation, there’s no time like the present. Back pain accounts for more than 264 lost workdays each year; over 80% of the population will experience spinal issues at some time during their life, says the American Chiropractic Association.
Spinal rotations can help. Twisting is more than a dance move and more than a yoga pose. Twisting is a physical movement that, when done deliberately and intentionally, can change the way everything works in your body –from your outer to your inner geography. Twisting strengthens the oblique muscles on the side body, exercises the upper back and waist, and even helps to detoxify your liver. The action of twisting helps to create inter-vertebral space thus lengthening the spine. This decompresses the vertebrae and protects spinal nerves. The flow of energy is also improved in a gentle, non-evasive way leaving you feeling newly rebooted. Twisting actions stimulate blood circulation and release tension in abdominal muscles, allowing the digestive organs to experience a fresh blood flow that’s rich in oxygen and nutrients. Twisting can help you de-stress. opening up the shoulders, chest, and back to boost oxygen and decrease feelings of anxiousness.
In practice, the action of Twisting is simple but profound. You can do a twist while lying in bed, sitting upright in a chair, cross-legged on a yoga mat, or even standing. Twists can positively affect the upper, middle, and lower back helping to improve the spinal cord’s range of motion. Everything old feels new again.
Maybe best of all, twists can profoundly affect at-risk backs that slouch at a desk, in a car, or on a train/plane for long stretches, a situation that not only weakens the integrity of the spine but affects what happens in our headspace, as well. Think of headaches, fatigue, and gloomy moods following prolonged periods in one position.
Here are a few easy twists to keep you and your spine happy and rejuvenated. Do them when still in bed, between work at your desk, while listening to a podcast. Note: If you’re pregnant or have osteoporosis, any twisting should be mindful and moderate (or possibly contraindicated). When in doubt, check with your healthcare professional.
Here are six simple twists to reboot the body (with a few tips):
* Keep a tall spine when sitting, standing, or kneeling. To reap the full benefits, always turn from the side body not from the shoulders.
*Take a deep, long inhale to start and an exhale to complete the movement. Then five more in-and-out breaths before switching sides.
* Complete your twisting practice by standing with legs apart, knees slightly bent, and let your arms swing freely up down and around the body like the sleeves of a coat.
Be Seated Twist: Sit in a straight-backed chair with knees together and feet on the floor. Place your left hand outside the right knee and use that as leverage to rotate your body to the right. Switch sides.
Lying” S” Twist: Lying on your back on a padded surface, carpet, or in bed: bring right knee into the chest and place left hand above the knee gently bringing the knee across the waist and over to the left, as close to the floor/bed as possible without straining the lower back. Turn head to look over the right shoulder.
Standing Pyramid Twist: Stand with legs wider than the hips. Bend forward from the waist and place your left hand on the floor midway between the feet ( or on a stack of books or boxes if you lack the flexibility). Rotate from the waist, stacking the shoulders, and reaching the right hand toward the ceiling. Look up if it doesn’t bother your neck.
Threading the Needle: On hands and knees on a carpeted or padded surface, lift your right arm and slide it under your left until you are resting on your right shoulder. If you have the flexibility, bring the ear to the ground as well. The left arm can wrap around the back to increase the stretch or reach toward the ceiling.
Hands Down Twist: On hands and knees, lift and extend the right leg from the hip toward the back wall and let it cross over the left leg, letting the toes rest on the floor. Turn to look over the left shoulder. Hold for 5 breaths and switch sides.
Seated Floor Twist. Sit on a padded surface. Extend both legs and open the arms into a “T.” Keep the T, turn from the waist to the right and extend the right arm outside the left leg reaching toward the foot. Bend the knees if needed.
Seated Classic Yoga Twist: Sitting on the floor on a blanket or yoga mat with a lifted spine and legs extended. Bend right knee and place the foot outside the opposite leg. Use the other hand on the right knee to help turn the torso further to the right, turning from the side body not just from the shoulders.