Whoever ceases to be a student has never been a student.
~ George Iles
We twist in our bodies every day. When we pull out of the driveway and look over our shoulder or even turn to look at a friend next to us at lunch, we are revolving and twisting. If you have ever woken up with a stiff neck, you will know how important it is to have that flexibility. I have learned firsthand that twists not only keep the muscles, bones and tissues healthy but can be used as a tool to release the tension from a stiff neck.
As with any type of exercise, seek out a professional if you have any questions or concerns. If you feel any pain shooting up and down your back then I recommend highly that you see a doctor. Yoga can be a useful tool when used properly and with a qualified teacher, but is never a replacement for a doctor’s care.
The Asana that I am going to explain below is something that can be performed seated in a chair. I love it because it is quite simple and yet has kept my back healthy for years. Let’s give it a try.
Easy Seated Chair Twist
- Find a chair that has a flat seat to keep the pelvis level with the floor. One hip should not be higher than the other. I sometimes like to sit on the front end of the seat so most of my legs are not touching the seat.
- Feet and knees are hip width apart. Toes should be facing in the same direction as the knees.
- On the inhalation you will lift up and lengthen the spine. On the exhalation you twist to the right. Left hand on the right thigh, right hand on the seat of the chair behind the right hip.
- Don’t hold the breath, but lead with it. Lift on inhalation, twist on exhalation.
- You are working your way up the spine, so do not lead with the head. The head will move with the shoulders but it will turn last.
- Stay in the final twist for a few breaths, and then on the exhalation release and face forward.
- If this works for you, visualize a string at the top of your head pulling you up when you inhale. This lengthening will create the space you need for the twist.
- The first part of the twist is when you turn to the side and place one hand on the outside thigh and the other behind on the seat of the chair. When going to the right your left leg will move forward, and the left knee will be further out than the right. You want this action to happen so that the twist starts at the pelvis. Not a lot of real twisting going on there but let the pelvis move with you in the twist.
- Once you have turned to the side (the right in this case), inhale to lengthen, exhale, and then turn the belly button to the right. Inhale, exhale, and then turn the chest. Inhale, exhale, turn the shoulders. Inhale, exhale, and you cannot twist anymore, then turn to look over your right shoulder. The gaze of the eyes is neither up nor down but at your horizon.
So there you have it. Try the Simple Chair Twist on both sides (right then left) to stretch and tone the body equally. Do remember to move slowly and not push the body too strongly. Observe how the body feels before and after with this posture. It is my hope that you will enjoy it as much as I have over the years.