Ardha Matsyendrasana Yoga PostureLet’s Twist Again by Sue Fuller 

Twisting postures bring a multitude of physical and emotional benefits.  Here are a few reasons as to why you should always perform one or more in your yoga practice.  

Twisting postures complement all forward and back bending movements and provide a long list of physical, emotional and energetic benefits. They are vital to complete any yoga practice. 

Twisting postures quite literally squeeze some of the major organs involved in digestion, which helps to move waste material through the digestive system, speeding up and enhancing elimination.  This is why this group of postures are so prominent when it comes to using yoga to assist with detoxing. 

Twisting postures help to remove toxins and assist the lymphatic system.  The lymphatic system relies purely on muscular contractions to move the lymph fluid around the body.  Twists cleanse the internal organs making way for fresh oxygen and nutrients to nourish these areas. 

Twisting postures will increase the range of movement and release tension in the spine, shoulders, neck and pelvis.  They help to lengthen and strengthen the core muscles and maintain a healthy back.  

Twisting postures increase the range of movement in the intercostal muscles.  These muscles allow the rib cage to expand during breathing.  This enables you to breathe more fully and completely which brings more oxygen into the body making pranayama practise more effective.  

In addition to all of the physical benefits twisting postures bring many positive energetic benefits.  They increase vitality and help to balance emotions.  This is because when we perform a simple seated spinal twist, the energy centres are perfectly aligned and stimulated, as each energy centre influences different emotional traits twisting could help to balance emotions. 

Try this simple seated spinal twist, focus on each energy centre and picture prana travelling freely between them as you twist whilst maintaining a straight spine. 

Seated Spinal Twist Yoga PostureBegin in Sukhasana (the easy pose), sitting with your ankles crossed and a straight spine.  

Prior to rotating the torso, draw up the lower abdominals including the pelvic floor muscles.  This will help to stimulate the root or base chakra also known as Muladhara. 

Engaging the lower abdominals will stimulate the abdominal chakra, Svadhisthana. 

Slowly rotate the torso this stimulates the solar plexus - Manipura and the heart chakra -Anahata. 

By turning the head to look over the shoulder you will stimulate the throat chakra - Vishuddha. 

Relaxing the brow will open the third eye or brow chakra - Ajna. 

Finally lengthening out of the crown of the head allows the crown chakra - Sahasrara to resonate freely.   

Having twisted in one direction make sure that you repeat the same mindful process on the other side. 

Not all twists are suitable during pregnancy or for some people before you begin consult a medical practitioner first.  

Twisting provides greater insight and clearer vision, as twists allow us to see the world from a whole different perspective.

Detox Yoga by Sue FullerSue Fuller is a leading yoga teacher with a range of over 60 audio yoga classes. These include Gentle Yoga classes for the absolute beginner and a range of beginner classes that guide you through techniques and practices to help you establish a solid foundation in Yoga and then right through to strong classes for more experienced practitioners.  Classes are available on both CD and MP3 from www.wellbeingworldonline.com or from www.yoga2hear.co.uk .