Twists are a favorite among many yoga practitioners. These poses can be advanced and have several health benefits.
Rotating and twisting your upper body releases tightness in the lower back to promote spinal neutralization and better rotation and aids in detoxification and digestion. However most who attempt these twists are often doing them incorrectly. Jamming their bodies into a position they’re not ready for or not fully understanding the alignment of the pose are the common reasons yoga twists are often done wrong. The end result of incorrect twisting are over stretched muscles in the hips and lower back which in time will create instability and injuries.
Here are 4 twisting poses, their common mistakes, and how to fix them!
1. Revolved Triange Pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
– Bending front knee too much
– Hips are tilting to one side
– Yanking the top arm back
– Use a block so the front knee straightens completely.
– Keep your hips in a straight line by moving the hip of the front leg back and the opposite hip forward.
– Twist more at the waist, rotate your chest up and bring your gaze to the ceiling.
2. Bound Revolved Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Baddha Parsvakonasana)
– Back leg bends
– Hip tilts to one side
– Upper body rests on the front leg so chest collapses and top shoulder falls forward
– Completely straighten the back leg to help stabilize and balance. It’s really hard but so helpful.
– Move the hip of the front leg back to align the hips.
– Use the arm to knee connection to elevate the chest, twist more at the waist, and bring your gaze up.
3. Revolved Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
– Shoulders collapse and chest falls forward
– Rounding in the lower back
– Knees and hips are not in a straight line
– Press the arm into the knee and the knee back into the arm to help you twist more at the waist instead of the hips. Press the hands firmly together to widen the collarbones and open the chest.
– Stick your butt out to arch the lower back. This will help to increase the range of motion in your twists.
– If one knee is in front of the other, slide that same side hip back and that will align both your hips and knees.
4. Seated Spinal Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
– One hip is lifted
– Too much leaning forward and chest collapses
– Ground through both sitz bones so hips are aligned before twisting. Placement of the top foot can be adjusted to help with hip alignment.
– Lean back pulling the top leg towards you and use it to twist the torso, lift the chest up, and straighten the spine.
Many people compromise safe alignment so they can get into these twists. You should be able to breathe deeply and feel length in the poses, not congestion and pain. If you’re attempting these twisting poses and struggling to hold them, a modification is a must. Opt to drop the knee down, use props and break down the pose into steps. Little by little, you’ll inch your way into a deep, effortless, and detoxifying twist.