Benefits of Basic Twists

Twists in yoga practice are widely beneficial, especially for digestion and spine strengthening. But just as each person and their practice is unique, each yoga pose is also unique and poses their own individual benefits.

1. Twisted Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parivritta Parsvakonasana)

DO THIS

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NOT THIS

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Benefits:

  • Strengthens and lengthens thighs (quadricep muscles)
  • Stretches hips and groin
  • Opens lungs, chest and shoulders
  • Boosts energy and stamina in the body
  • Enhances overall function of abdominal organs
  • Can potentially aid in reducing menstrual discomfort as well as constipation

Modifications:

Twisted side angle pose challenges the strength in your legs, your balance, as well as chest openness. If you feel unstable in this pose or unable to commit your upper torso fully into the twist, modify by placing your back knee down on the mat and ensure that your front knee and ankle are in line with each other before you take your twist.

FOR PREGNANT WOMEN, DO THIS INSTEAD

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Twist with arms open

2. Sage Pose (Marichyasana C) Basic Variation

DO THIS

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NOT THIS

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Benefits:

  • Strengthens and stretches the spine
  • Relieves mild sciatica and lower backache
  • Stretches and opens chest and shoulders
  • Massages abdominal organs including the liver and kidneys
  • Aids in digestion and constipation

Modifications:

FOR PREGNANT WOMEN, DO THIS INSTEAD

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Twist away from the bent knee

3. Twisted Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

DO THIS

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NOT THIS

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Benefits:

  • Strengthens ankles, thighs, calves and spine
  • Opens shoulders, chest and upper back
  • Improves digestion and increases metabolism
  • Stimulates heart and abdominal organs
  • Detoxifies

Modifications:

  • Lower back pain: Have a small gap between the feet and knees in your chair pose or twisted chair but make sure to keep the pointed forwards in your twist and not collapse them inwards

CAUTIONS FOR TWISTS

Twists should be avoided if you are pregnant unless you are aware of how to modify with open twists, i.e. twist with the arms open instead of palm together.

If you are prone to headaches when looking up during a twisted pose, try looking down at the mat or floor instead.

Try to avoid twists if you suffer from insomnia or low blood pressure. Instead, practice other poses that are targeted to alleviate these issues.

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