Chapter Seven Twisting Postures

"JA'1.1 Ja/AAast/z ¿J io//ieSAi/iy eJofercc or /ziyJfcrtouJ. id 4tv/y/Ay a "'ay ofatpaAf//t//y A/ts>utArsAys oAou/ ourAf/vei. Stf/uA wAi Vt we A/zoc Ar////u/A Aou> to A/tow ouj-ieA/'ed, u/c u/tAA aA-io A/tot// tA/s wo/A/AarousuAt/J a/uA /At/ Ju/isc/ftt /-eaAt'/y a J too A/. .

• AA/roupA 'Aei/Aorst/a- ytHt cay/ pat// /Au Ast/wAe/Ap/ aAott/ yousdcAfastsAyS'ttr eAa/to/tjAyt tot/A /A/ usii/wio; ¿ArouyA /AsJs /eractcs&i you cast ysz/si s.r/ttrtstt /laAAstoutA/Ays aAou/ tAete ias/is /Att/tyJ.

— Tapasvi Baba, from a lecture given at the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, PA on July 17, 2000 (translated by D. C. Rao).

Imagine what it would be like if we couldn't twist. We couldn't swing a bat or a golf club. We couldn't greet someone standing next to us without turning our entire body. We couldn't even twist the lid from a jar-. We would walk like marionettes and dance like robots. Twisting is needed for every activity that involves moving to the side and front simultaneously. Lean diagonally across a table—you twist. Throw a ball—you twist. Scratch your left foot with your right hand—you twist. Not only that, every inquiry about anything not. directly in your line of sight requires t wisting. It might he something as simple as looking around a room to determine where to go and what to do next, or it could be something as complex as twisting the head, neck, and trunk around 135° in an aulomobde seat to confirm that no one is alongside and slightly behind you before you change lanes.

Anatomically, all asymmetric whole-body activities, even those that Principally involve flexion and extension, contain elements of twisting, lake walking. As you stride forward with one foot the opposite hand comes forward—right foot left hand, left foot right hand, right foot left hand, left foot right hand. This creates a moderate whole-body twist, and a slight twist in the gait not only balances the body, it calms the nervous system. If you are skeptical, try it the other way right foot and right hand forward at the same time, clunk; then left foot and left hand forward at the same time, clunk. It's jarring.


In hatha yoga we have many twisting postures to pick from, including all asymmetrical postures that are not pure sidebends. In this chapter we'l1 examine a few of them in detad, including basic spinal twists, variou: combinations of flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and twisting of the hear and neck, and certain standing postures that combine twisting wit backbending and forward bending. We'll start with an analysis of th fundamentals of twisting, then look at the anatomy of twisting from hea to toe, and complete the chapter by looking at supine, standing, inverts and sitting twists.

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