In This Chapter
^ Enjoying spinal fitness — with a yogic twist ^ Introducing six simple twists
M magine you're cleaning up the kitchen with a wet sponge. After mopping up some spills the sponge gets dirty. You hold it under the kitchen faucet, turn on the water, and squeeze out the dirty water. As you release the pressure on the sponge, it sucks up some clean water. You're ready to start again.
This sponge analogy helps to visualize how yogic twists work on the spine. The pulpy pads between the individual bones, called the intervertebral discs have no direct blood supply of their own after about age 20, so they depend on your everyday movements to help them wring out the accumulated wastes and, in turn, soak up a fresh supply of blood and other reviving fluids. This process is called imbibation. Over time, if your discs aren't continually squeezed and soaked, they tend to harden and dry out, like a sponge left unused for a few days. Consequently, your spine stiffens up and shrinks.
Twists are an important component of any Yoga practice. They clean out the discs and help keep them firm and supple; massage the internal organs, such as your intestines and kidneys; stoke the inner fire of digestion; and stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back and abdomen.
This chapter features seated twists, which emphasize the upper spine, and reclining twists, which emphasize the lower spine. For standing twists, see Chapter 8.
Approach all twists with caution if you're suffering from disc problems anywhere in your spine. Consult your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist or work with a reputable Yoga therapist after you have a diagnosis.
When thinking about the human body and mind, people often associate the word twist with pain or something undesirable. For example, people say things like, "She twisted her ankle," "He has a twisted mind," or "She accused him of twisting her words." But twisting isn't all bad. Ropes get their strength from the twisted strands that comprise them. Yogic twisting postures have the same positive effect. When done properly, they bring strength to your body, especially to the weak spots (notably the lower back). True enough, twisting is part of your everyday movements. But unless your muscles are well trained, you can easily injure yourself. The exercises in this section can help you get your back in tip-top shape as you look forward to enjoyment and enlightenment along the way.
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Yoga is extensively know as a form of exercise that stretches and strengthens the body through various poses know as ASANA. For other people yoga is the realization of inner self satisfaction. For other it is a religion that the believe and must follow. Learn more within this guide by downloading today.