Twists are one of my very favorite groups of postures. As someone who has dealt with a lot of digestive upset in my life, learning yoga twists has been a life saver for me. Twists are postures that generally involve moving the shoulder girdle to face in an opposing direction in relation to the hips. There are different twists that target the upper, middle and lower portions of the torso, all having their own unique set of health benefits.
If you’d like to practice twisting but don’t know where to start, I recommend taking part in this free 30 Day Yoga Challenge. You’ll learn more about twists and be guided through the movement at a manageable pace.
Here are my top five reasons why you should practice yoga twists.
1. Improve Digestive Function
When you are in a twist, you will be essentially compressing your digestive organs - placing them under weight. This will cause a lack of circulation. When you release your twist there will be a rush or fresh blood that will flood your digestive organs. Fresh blood flow equals fresh oxygen and nutrients. Twisting will increase blood flow to the digestive organs, thus increasing their ability to function.
As mentioned above, when you twist you will cut off blood supply to your digestive organs, and then re-introduce fresh blood to your abdominal organs when you release your twist. This re-introduction of fresh blood can help to cleanse the cells of any built up waste because with increased circulation comes increased cellular detoxification. You can also help to move stagnated impurities and gas through your digestive tract due to the compression that comes with twisting.
3. Maintain Normal Spinal Rotation
The muscles and other tissues that surround the spine can become stiff overtime. This will lead to a decreased range of motion, pain and discomfort that can really affect quality of life. Practicing twisting postures helps to keep the spinal muscles mobile, helping to keep you mobile as well.
4. Reduction In Back Pain
Slumping over a computer at the office, slouching behind the steering wheel, sitting in chairs that offer poor back support and standing with our shoulders drooping forward are all things most of us do on a daily basis. All of these habits can lead to back pain. Twists stretch and strengthen the back muscles which can provide serious relief from the back pain caused by everyday life.
Twists are wonderful postures if you deal with stress or anxiety. These postures will help to open the chest, shoulders and back, all of which can help to decrease feelings of anxiousness. You will be releasing stored tension in the body as you twist, which can have a positive effect on your mental state. You will get double the benefit if you combine your twist with slow, rhythmic breathing as well.