Yoga offers a wide range of benefits to the body and the mind. Each yoga pose offers different benefits, depending on the muscles and joints being used, Almost all yoga poses will improve your fitness, but many also offer significant and varied health benefits. There are a number of twisting yoga poses that offer similar benefits but vary dramatically in terms of difficulty.
Yoga twists increase the flexibility of your oblique or waist muscles, your abdominals and your back muscles. Positions of modern living can leave these muscles short and tight which can lead to lower back pain and poor posture. The longer you hold the pose for, the more you will improve your flexibility. To increase your flexibility, try to twist a little more each time to perform your yoga poses and, while you are practicing, increase the stretch slightly as you relax in time with your exhalations.
Age and inactivity can reduce the range of movement available to all your joints. Spending long periods seated at a desk or in a car can have an adverse effect of your spinal mobility which can manifest as non-specific back pain. Yoga twists can help to mobilize the joints of your spine by rotating each vertebrae gently. To improve spine mobility, perform yoga twists in a slow but rhythmical fashion, rotating to your left and right.
Yoga twists, according to yogic teachings, squeeze the internal organs and encourage the flow of oxygenated blood while eliminating toxins and metabolic waste products. The liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas and spleen are all believed to benefit from the twisting poses of yoga. Twisting poses can also help reduce abdominal bloating and digestive discomfort. Perform at least one twisting yoga pose a day to improve the health of your internal organs.
Yoga twists can help you eliminate tension from deep within your body. This physical tension can show itself as emotional stress. Yoga twists help the muscles of the chest, back and shoulder relax and, when combined with slow nasal breathing, allow stress to leave the body. Yoga twists are also invigorating, restorative and can help elevate your energy levels if you are feeling tired. Perform a twisting yoga pose whenever you feel stressed.
- "Yoga, Tai Chi Massage, Therapies & Healing Remedies"; Mark Evans; 2003
- "Yoga Journal" magazine: About yoga twists
- "Yoga Anatomy: Your Illustrated Guide to Postures, Movements, and Breathing Techniques"; Leslie Kaminoff; 2007