Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Twisted Tale

Come on Baby; let’s do “The Twist.”

Do you remember hearing about “The Twist”?  It was a dance craze in the early 1960’s inspired by rock and roll. Popular songs by Chubby Checker and The Beatles as well as others had people up on their feet twisting the night away. You might be wondering, where in the world is she going with this? I thought this was a yoga blog…

Well yoga and dancing have all sorts of delightful things in common. First off, both dancing and yoga can be magical and transforming. They not only lift our spirits but energize our lives. Dancing and yoga are mind-body experiences, keeping our bodies and our brains healthy. We have to pay attention to the dance steps as well as the yoga instruction and these actions keep our minds engaged. They strengthen bones without stressing joints; toning the entire body, improving posture and balance. Stamina and flexibility increase and stress and tensions are reduced, sounds good to me. 

It has been said that the original inspiration for the “The Twist” came from the African American plantation dance called “Wringin' and Twistin’.”  Wringin’ and twistin’, that’s just what we do when we practice yoga twists. We wring the body out as we twist. 

Twisting poses help restore the spine’s natural range of motion, cleanse your organs, stimulate circulation and release tension. Twists penetrate deep into the core of the body, offering powerful benefits to muscles and organs. They encourage deep, full breaths. Practicing twists regularly can restore flexibility and mobility to the spine. Internal organs are compressed during a twist, pushing out blood filled with metabolic wastes and toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows in bringing oxygen for healing, ahhhh.

Easy Pose Easy Twist
With mindfulness we begin by letting the breath be our guide. Inhaling we lengthen the spine lifting our heads towards the sky before we twist.  An exhale follows as you gently twist into the pose. Pause and breathe and when you are ready gently come back to center. Always repeat the twist on the opposite side bringing balance back into the body. The following are two gentle twists and a few of their benefits.

Bent knee Spinal Twist
  •    encourages mobility in the spine and vertebrae
  •    massages, stretches, and tones the internal organs
  •    improves digestion
  •    stretches the chest, shoulders, lower back, hips, middle and upper back

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
  •     increases spinal flexibility
  •     expands chest and shoulders
  •     relieves mid back muscle tension
  •     stretches the hip
The physical practice of moving into these twisting poses helps us to have a balanced view of life. Giving us the ability to look at all sides of any given situation. This improves our overall sense of balance, calming the mind. So we learn through yoga, whatever is twisted can be untwisted.

Twists can help you eliminate tension from deep within. Emotional stresses often manifest as physical tensions. Twists help the muscles relax and allow stress to leave the body. Notice the aftereffects of your favorite twist. Perhaps you’ll feel more centered and balanced, energized or calmed.

Enjoy what comes your way and remember when dancing the night away is not an option then… come on baby, let’s do the twist! 

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