Sunday, 25 June 2017

Building a home practice - warm ups, so worth it - twists

For a practice focused on deep standing twists such as Revolved Triangle, Revolved Side Angle or Revolved Half Moon Balance, your warm up should mobilise the spine in all directions and create some length in the spine.  The neck is the most mobile part of the spine and easy to strain in twists so include some neck releases and if you have any doubts about your neck, keep your chin in line with your chest when you practice deep twists. Below is a sample warm up sequence for standing twists.

Neck releases (all movements of the neck should be slow.  If you come across any tight areas stop and breathe into that area)- sit on a block with a straight spine, your chin level with the floor.  Breathe in and as you breathe out take your chin to your chest, breathe in lift your chin up towards the ceiling.  Breathe out bring your chin down to your chest.  Breathe in and as you breathe out circle your chin to your right shoulder.  Breathe in circle back to centre, breathe out circle your chin to your left shoulder and continue working with your breath. After several movements breathe in come back to centre, then on your next breath in bring your chin back level with the floor. Breathe out drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre, exhale drop your left ear to your left shoulder. Hold for several breaths then inhale come back to centre.

Back bend/forward bend - place your fingertips on your shoulders, elbows level with the shoulders.  Breathe in, lift your chest and chin, take your elbows back.  Breathe out round forward bringing your elbows together.  Continue for around a minute. 

Lateral stretch -change the cross of your legs.  Have your hands in a yogic grip, fingers of the hands curled around each other.  Inhale lift your left elbow, lower the right elbow opening up the left side of your body, exhale lift your right elbow, lower the left elbow as you open up the right side of your body. Your gaze follows the raised elbow. Continue for a minute.

Seated twist - bring your fingertips to your shoulders, inhale twist to the left, exhale twist to the right and continue for a minute.  
Puppy (lengthen spine) - come to all fours and, keeping your hips lifted, walk your hands forward allowing your chest to release towards the mat. If this is hard on your shoulders, interlace your fingers above your head. To come out of the pose slide your hands back and rest in extended Child's pose.  
Downward Facing Dog variation - when you are ready come to all fours.  Breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out lift your knees about 8 inch from the mat.  Release your chest towards your thighs to lengthen your spine the start to straighten your legs.  Hold for 5 breaths then walk your feet towards your hands and when your shoulders come over your hands, breathe in, roll up to standing.  

Now you are ready to practice twists.

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