In Sanskrit, this pose is known as Bharadvajasana. However, I decided to call it Simple seated twist. Perhaps the most basic of the yoga twists, this pose is appropriate for, and should be practiced by, yogis of all levels.
Spinal rotation is essential for a healthy spine. We know that gently twisting from side to side will help release any tight muscles and balance the right and left sides of the spine. However, spinal rotations serve a greater purpose even than restoring balance and functionality to your spine.
In yoga, spinal rotations are frequently at the end of your practice to reset your nervous system. This is because twisting the spine hits a reset button of sorts for your nervous system, bringing you greater relaxation and ease in the rest of your day. Because of this, spinal rotations are also common after back bending poses, which are known for increasing energy.
Simple Seated Twist
- We will use ujjayi breathing.
- Begin in Dandasana. We want to make sure that our SITs bones are connected to the ground before we twist.
- Bend both legs to the right side of your body, tucking your left toes onto your right ankle.
- Inhale here to lengthen.
- Draw your belly button toward your spine and exhale to rotate your body to the left.
- Place the back of your right hand on your left thigh, and reach your left hand behind you. Make sure that you are raised on fingertips on the left hand to avoid sinking into your shoulder and, ultimately, your spine.
- Turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
- As you hold here and breathe, think about inhaling in to your center to lengthen your spine and softening as you exhale to move into a deeper twist.
- Hold here for 5 or more breaths.
- To unwind, reverse sequence. Bring your head to neutral, followed by your spine.
- Reach your legs in front of you.
- Do the other side.
Simple Seated Twist Video
Since I recently broke my neck, I invited my friend and yoga mentor, Steph Abbott, to instruct. You will notice that she and I explain this pose in different ways. Maybe something I have written will resonate with you, and maybe something she says will resonate with you. This is a perfect example of why it’s important to try different teachers to further your yoga practice.
So, for the visual learners, here’s Steph teaching Simple seated twist pose. (Be sure to find her on Facebook at Steph Abbott, LLC. Her website, stephabbott.com, is currently under construction, but it’s coming soon!)
What other twists do you like to do to reset your spine? Let us know in the comments below.
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