That Twisting Thing

Another sequencing suggestion. I like to use this when I’m feeling discomfort in my mid and upper back, places that I tend to carry tension from stress and staying sedentary for too long. I also like to use it the day after I’ve done some vigorous core work. That said, this is still a fairly active, energetic practice for me — not something I’d use when my goal was gentle or restorative.

And of course, disclaimer: This is my personal practice, not something I’m recommending as safe or beneficial for everyone else. Use your own best judgment, and if in doubt, consulting with a professional is likely a good idea.

1. Integration: Child’s pose and traveling child’s pose.

2. Kneeling Warm Up: With some cat and cow repetitions and then thread the needle once or twice on each side.

3. Standing Warm Up: Three or so half sun salutes incorporating an uttanasana twist.

4. Sun Salutes: One with a low lunge prayer twist, the second with prayer twist from a high lunge. Primarily because this is earlier on in a very twisty practice, I make a choice not to move into any deeper variations here. (An easy way to modify would be to do both salutes from either the high or low lunge position.)

5. Chair Pose Twist: Because my focus here is my twisting spine and not my thighs, I give myself permission to release before I curse in the pose.

6. Sun Salute with Triangle and Revolved Triangle: For triangle, I like to come up into it from a lunge through side angle — but I think it might be more familiar to folks to come down into triangle through warrior II. For the transition between triangle and revolved triangle, I spend a few breaths in pyramid, recentering and setting up for the twist.

7. Sun Salute with Half Moon and Revolved Half Moon: Yes, both sides of my ass are a little bit on fire when I’m done with this, but I don’t mind. If I am feeling fancy (and like it wouldn’t be completely masochistic), I sometimes add a standing split before I go back into lunge. Additionally, at the end of this sun salute, I usually hold uttanasana for several breaths before coming back to stand.

8. Malasana with a Twist: Because I’ve earned it, dammit! ;)

9. Twisting Boat Pose: Because I know this is going to be my last really strong vinyasa, I do as many repetitions of this as I can safely manage. The exact number varies from day to day.

10. Sphinx: After the moving, vigorous core work, I like a gentle, stationary backbend.

11. Revolved Head to Knee and Head to Knee: Again, for this set, I’m focusing more on spinal rotation than I am on any kind of lateral or forward bending.

12. Paschimottanasana with a Twist: To do this, I grab the outside of each leg with the opposite hand. (And for this one, it is important for me to find a place where I can hold on, as opposed to just touch.) First, I hang on with my left hand (grabbing my right leg) and let go with my right, opening my arms and twisting out behind me. Then I repeat on the other side. Finally, I end with a forward fold.

13. Savasana: Maybe with a deep or gentle lying spinal twist along the way, but maybe not. Sometimes, by this point in the practice, my body is done with wanting twisting.

Usually, this practice takes me somewhere in the neighborhood of 40-50 minutes, depending on how long I’m holding my twists and how long I’m hanging out in down dog. Oh, and speaking of down dog, it — and the rest of the sun salutes in general — are pretty key for me in this practice. The up dogs, down dogs, and uttanasanas are what give my spine a chance to neutralize after those twists, so I’m not just going from one twisting posture to the next.

Stick figure drawing of half moon pose, lower arm drawn in red.

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Posted in asana, twist

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