25. Spine Twisting
To twist the spine correctly in Ardha Matsyendrasana, it’s important to keep both hips grounded and flat on the floor and the body weight forward.
Set up by bending the left leg on the floor until the left heel meets the side of the right buttock. The left knee should stay flat on the floor throughout the pose. Bend the right knee to bring the right leg up and over the left leg, lining the right heel up to touch the left knee.
Line the right hand up behind the back, close in to the tailbone to help keep the body weight forward and lifted throughout the pose.
Inhale stretch the left arm up along side the left ear, exhale, draw it over the right knee to hold the left kneecap firmly. Inhale lift the spine, exhale turn the head over the right shoulder and twist the shoulders and torso to the right.
Deepen the twist by pressing the left elbow into the right knee and reaching the right hand behind the back all the way around to hold the left thigh or hip. Maintain normal breathing and work into twisting deeper specifically during an exhalation.
It’s important to keep the abdominal muscles engaged to support the spine in twisting postures. Balancing with both hips grounded and the body weight forward may be challenging at first. Be patient and keep using core strength to avoid twisting from a rounded, unsupported spine.
Think of lifting up as you twist, lifting the abdomen out of the pelvis and the upper body up to the ceiling. The neck is long, the shoulders work down and away from the ears.
Breath, hold for 20 seconds, unwind out of the posture and set up to twist to the left.
- Twists and rinses out the spine, nourishing and increasing circulation to spinal nerves, veins and tissues
- Improves the elasticity and flexibility of the spine
- Increases the flexibility of the hip joints.
- Helps cure rheumatism of the spine
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles and buttocks
- Stretches the outer thigh muscles
- Stretches upper back and chest
- Opens the shoulder joint
- Rinses out the abdominal organs, improving digestion and removing flatulence.