It’s been that kind of day anyway, so it might be therapeutic to talk about the benefits of twisting as well as to do some actual twisting of my own. Conveniently enough, twisting is also the second way to stretch and contract the oblique abdominals, so I can multitask by continuing my series on the core.
Sometimes I am so efficient, I even amaze myself. The reason it amazes me is because it happens so rarely.
Among the benefits of various twisting postures are that they basically wring out the internal abdominal organs and the spine, removing toxins and infusing the area with fresh prana and blood. And in addition to activating the abdominal obliques, they also access the deepest muscles along the spine, which can help to relieve both physical and emotional tension.
To be honest, I’m not sure how much I believe that today or how well it will help, but twists also have another benefit. They are easy, and there are many different forms of twisting, which helps with accessibility.
Okay, so maybe that was two benefits.
But, back to twisting. I wish I was more with-it and had a snazzier way to introduce this YouTube clip:
I like this clip not necessarily because of the particular twist or because I twist 20 times in succession (I don’t) but because I like the instruction and alignment cues. It’s helpful for me to envision the twist as originating at the base of my spine and moving systematically upward through my pelvis, abdomen, ribcage, shoulders, and neck. Otherwise I definitely feel the temptation to “fake a twist” by twisting my neck to look over my shoulder without really rotating the rest of my spine at all.
That said, I am a fan of this simple seated twist because I find it pretty easy to adapt into different everyday situations. For instance, I have a hard time sitting in chairs and so find this version of the twist useful even if I don’t scoot forward to the front of the chair. It works for me in desk situations, boring meeting situations (NO, I’M NOT TUNING YOU OUT; I’M JUST INVIGORATING MY SPINE), even some driving situations (e.g., stoplights).
An alternative to this is a supine spinal twist for times when a seated posture is either non-therapeutic or inaccessible.
From a core perspective, twisting the upper body to the left stretches the left external and right internal obliques while twisting to the right stretches the right external and left internal obliques. And while I admittedly don’t do anything like twenty reps per side, I do find that a more vinyasa approach to twisting (for me, approximately 6-12 twists per side) is a good warm up for more intense oblique strengthening exercises.
When my uterus is done being wrung out like a sponge.