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Pose Of The Week: Extended-Leg Spine Twist

This pose has a long name and and even longer list of benefits! For our students that practice our Hot26 class frequently, this pose can evoke some relief — you know your hard work is almost done when you get to this pose! It is the best feeling to give yourself a nice, easy spine twist after an intense class. Apart from this, you can feel good knowing that this pose massages the internal organs, tones the belly and helps with digestion… and that’s not all — check out the other plus points for this pose:

 

Benefits:

  • Tones the stomach
  • Improves digestion
  • Stretches the stomach muscles
  • Relieves menstrual pain
  • Creates more flexibility in the waist and spine
  • Massages the internal organs
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Opens through the shoulders and lower back
  • Stretches through the back of the legs
  • An effective hip-opener
  • Great beginners twist
  • Helps to calm the mind and relieve symptoms of anxiety

 

Suz:

“When I’ve given a practice my all, I find this pose to be a real reward for my hard work. It feels gentle, yet satisfying on the body and I see it as a nice seal to my practice.”

 

 

Common mistakes

  • Too much pressure in the hand that is behind the back, rather than just using it as a gentle support and guide.
  • Back not straight.
  • Twisting only through the shoulders and not the torso.

 

Mike:

“When instructing, I often find that students are putting too much pressure on their back palm in this pose. The idea is to use the back palm and arm as guides to keep the back straight and upright — use the core for support to get more out of this pose!”

 

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Instructions:

  • Begin in a seated position with the legs straight out in front, hands on the thighs, core engaged with a straight back.
  • Bend the right knee and up and grip the right foot or shin gently, using the hands to guide the foot to the left side of the left thigh. Bend the knee and bring it close to the chest and then release it, placing the foot flat on the ground. The foot should be at least half way up the left thigh in distance.
  • Keeping the left leg straight, flex the left foot and press the calve muscle onto the ground to offer further support throughout this pose.
  • On an inhale, raise the right hand up towards the sky, and on the exhale bring it down and around to rest the palm on the mat behind the back, fingers facing away from the back. TIP: Think of the right hand as a ‘second spine.’ Keep it close to the back and use it as a guide to stay straight and upright — there shouldn’t’ be too much pressure on the palm at anytime.
  • On the next inhale, sweep the left hand up towards the sky, and on an exhale sweep it down to hook the elbow around the right side of the right knee, from behind. OPTION: If this isn’t available to you, hook the left elbow around the right knee from the front, so that the arm is ‘hugging’ the knee.
  • Keep the core engaged and both sit bones flat to the mat. On the next exhale, twist from the stomach, chest, shoulders and neck to slowly bring the gaze over the right shoulder.
  • Feel the twist in the upper body and continue to engage the legs and core for spine support. Hold for 5 slow breaths.
  • To release, reverse out of the twist (first the gaze, then the neck, then the shoulders, chest and stomach) to face the front. Bend the right knee up to the chest and release it back down to it’s original position.
  • Repeat pose on the opposite side.

 

Love your side-twists? Who doesn’t!? They feel so good and can even help to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression. Check out last week’s pose of the week, wide-legged twist for a more advanced rotation — your spine can thank us later 😉

 

Namaste!