Are you feeling overwhelmed by the length of your to do list? This simple yoga pose - a seated twist - can help.
I've been a huge fan of yoga ever since it helped me overcome severe back pain and sciatica over a decade ago. I'm convinced that it's been a huge factor in helping me lose weight and keep it off. too. And now as a personal yoga instructor, I love sharing all its incredible health benefits, which include improving strength, flexibility and balance, as well as relieving stress, with as many people as I can. According to this Prevention article, yoga can help you look and feel younger too!
One of yoga's greatest gifts is its ability to help you manage stress more effectively, which is especially important during this crazy-busy time of year and anytime you're trying to lose weight and keep it off.
When you're feeling frazzled, tense, and stuck in overdrive, try this simple seated twist to help you relax and unwind. It's a much better alternative than going overboard with the sweets and snacks that seem to be everywhere we turn right now! (Another great stress reliever is this simple breathing exercise)
Yoga twists literally wring out your body and can therefore assist in releasing huge amounts of stored tension - both physical and mental. When you release the twist, the muscles relax, that area receives fresh blood and its associated oxygen and nutrients, making twists both cleansing and nourishing for your body.
A simple seated twist also:
- Improves digestion, circulation and elimination
- Stretches and strengthens the spine, shoulders, and hips
- Increases circulation to the spinal muscles and hydrates the intervertebral disks
- Reduces back pain, neck pain, and sciatica
- Calms and restores the nervous system
- Stimulates the lymphatic system, an important part of your immune system
- Relieves stress, mild depression, and anxiety
When performing this gentle simple seated twist, always think about lengthening your spine before twisting to create as much space between the vertebrae as you can. The twist should feel like a gentle spiraling from the base (your belly and low back) upward, not like a forced cranking that begins with the chin and neck.
How To Do A Simple Seated Twist
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, with a blanket or bolster under your hips for support.
- Sit tall and take a few slow deep breaths through your nose. Elongate your spine right up through the top of your head. Pull your abdominals in and feel your seat really root into the floor. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
- As you feel ready to begin, inhale as you stretch your arms overhead, lengthening your spine. As you exhale twist to the right bringing your arms down, placing your right hand behind you on the floor (on fingertips if necessary) and your left had on the outside of your right knee. Keeping your chin level with the floor turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
- Stay in the twist for a few breaths. With each inhale, imagine your spine getting longer and with each exhale, twist a little deeper, without being forceful. Think about drawing your low spine in toward your belly. Elongate as you inhale, rotate as you exhale.
- The twist should originate in the core of your pelvis, spiraling up so the last part of the twist is turning your head.
- On an inhale, sweep your arms back up to the ceiling as you come back to center and then exhale twisting to the left. Stay here for several breaths, lengthening your spine with the inhale and twisting deeper as you exhale.
- Repeat the twist 2 to 3 more times on each side then sit for a few minutes to notice the effects of this simple seated yoga pose on your body and mind.
Photo Credit: Prevention
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