One minute yoga twist

Bharadvaja’s Twist

 

This gentle twist is a tonic for the spine and the abdominal organs.

Step-by-step technique

 

  1. Sit on the floor and swing your legs to the left.
  2. Lay your feet on the floor outside your left hip, with your left ankleresting in the right arch. Make sure that the pelvis feels even and you are not falling across to your right-hand side. If you are, you can use a block underneath your right hip.
  3. Inhale and lift through the top of your sternum to lengthen your front torso. Then exhale and twist your torso to the right from your tummy, keeping your left buttock on, or very close to, the floor. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor to keep your lower back long. Soften your belly.
  4. Place the skin of the knuckles of your left hand to your outer right knee and bring your right hand to the floor in line with your spine behind you. Always keep the extended arm straight. Pull your left shoulder back slightly, pressing your shoulderblades firmly against your back even as you continue to twist to the right. You can turn your head in one of two directions: continue the twist of your torso by turning it to the right or counter the twist of your torso by turning it left and looking over your left shoulder at your feet.
  5. With every inhalation, lift a little more through your sternum, using the push of the fingers on the floor to help. With every exhalation twist a little more from the tummy.
  6. Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then release with an exhalation, return to the starting position and repeat to the left for the same length of time.

 

Contraindications and cautions

 

  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia

Modifications and props

 

For an easier variation of this pose, sit sideways on a chair with the chair back to your right. Bring your knees together and your heels directly below your knees. Exhale and twist towards the chair back. Hold on to the sides of the chair back and lift your elbows up and out to the sides, as if you were pulling the chair back apart. Use the arms to help widen the upper back and move the twist into the space between the shoulderblades.

Deepening the pose

 

You can increase the challenge in this pose by slightly varying the position of your arms and hands. Firstly, exhale and swing your right arm around behind your back as you twist to the right. If you are able to, take your left arm, just at the elbow, with your right hand; if you can’t, hold a strap looped around your left elbow.

Beginner’s tip

 

If you tilt onto the twisting-side buttock (which compresses the lower back), raise it up on a thickly folded blanket. Consciously sink both sitting bones towards the floor.

 

Benefits

 

  • Improves digestion
  • Massages the abdominal organs
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and hips
  • Relieves lower backache, neck pain and sciatica
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Especially good in the second trimester of pregnancy for strengthening the lower back.

 

Partnering

 

A partner can help you learn to ground the opposite-side buttock. If you are twisting to the right, have your partner stand to your left side and place his/her hand on the very top of your left thigh.

Modifications and props

 

For an easier variation of this pose, sit cross-legged with your feet underneath your knees, toes pointing forwards. Allow enough space between the pubis and calf muscles to lay a spanned width of your hand in between them. Bring your left hand to the outer side of your right knee and then your right hand back behind your body. Twist from your tummy to the right.

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