Chapter 8

Several Twists on the Yoga Twist

In This Chapter

arrow Enjoying spinal fitness — with a yogic twist

arrow Introducing six simple twists

Imagine you’re cleaning the kitchen with a wet sponge. After you mop up some spills, the sponge gets dirty. You hold it under the kitchen faucet, turn on the water, and squeeze out the dirty water. As you release the pressure on the sponge, it sucks up some clean water. You’re ready to start again.

This description is a lot like how yogic twists work on the spine. The pulpy pads (discs) between the individual bones have no direct blood supply of their own after about age 20, so they depend on your everyday movements to help them wring out the accumulated wastes and soak up a fresh supply of blood and other reviving fluids. Over time, if you don’t continually squeeze and soak your discs, they tend to harden and dry out, like a sponge left unused for a few days. Consequently, your spine stiffens up and shrinks.

Twists are an important component of any yoga practice. They clean out the discs and help keep them firm and supple; massage the internal organs, such as your intestines and kidneys; stoke the inner fire of digestion; and stretch and strengthen the muscles of your back and abdomen.

This chapter features seated twists, which emphasize the upper ...

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