Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Protecting your neck in seated twists

The cervical (neck) vertebrae are much more mobile than the thoracic (upper back) vertebrae in most people.  This means that often when people do seated twists, the twisting action comes mainly from the neck.  This can lead to strain and even neck injury.  To prevent this, when moving into twists, keep the chin over the breast bone until, with practice, the rest of the spine becomes more flexible.  When you reach the stage where you have a good twist throughout the spine, then you may turn to look over your shoulder, listening to your body all the while.  

Try this in Half Lord of the Fishes.  To practice the pose, sit with the legs outstretched on a block or a blanket. Bend the right knee  and draw the leg close into the chest. Take the right foot to the outside of the left thigh. If you can keep the right sit bone and right foot grounded bring the left foot to the right hip, otherwise keep the left leg extended.  Take your right hand to the mat behind your right hip or to the block on which you are seated. Breathe in and lengthen your spine. Breathe out and bending  your left elbow, take your left arm to the outside of your right leg, palm facing forward (in the traffic stopping positon).  Alternatively, for beginners, hug your right leg into your body with the left hand.  Work with the breath to deepen the twist.  Inhale, lengthen through the crown of your head, exhale start to twist from the abdomen, then the ribcage, then the shoulders, keeping the chin in line with the breast bone.  As you hold the twist, work with your breath.  With each inhale lengthen, with each exhale, you may have room to twist a little more.  If you have a good twist through the spine, slowly turn your head to look over the right shoulder. Come out of the pose in the same way as you went into it.  Inhale lengthen, exhale release the neck, the shoulder, the ribcage and finally the abdomen. Repeat second side.  

Stay safe 

Janet x 

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