Level 1: Beginner
- Expansion of the chest by releasing tension and stretching the intercostal muscles.
- Improves rotation in the hip joints and spine.
- Massages abdominal organs and promotes digestion/elimination.
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Spinal/nerve issues- acute/chronic injuries, disc diseases, arthritis, sciatica
- Women: AVOID if pregnant or menstruating
Start from a seated position (in Dandasana) with both legs straight out in front of you, with a straight back:
1). Bend the left knee and bring the left leg underneath the right leg, with the left foot close to the right gluteals.
2). Place the right foot to the outside of the left thigh, with the sole down on the floor, and the right knee pointing upwards.
3). Inhale and lengthen through the spine, lifting the arms up straight.
4). Exhale and slowly rotate to the right, moving from the navel in a thoracic twist. Draw the lower abdomen back towards the spine and gently up. Keep the head in line with the spine, do not twist the neck. Place the right hand down behind the back to support. Take the left elbow to the outside of the right knee.
5). Breathe here, inhaling into the chest and lengthen the spine, and exhaling to gently deepen the twist, moving from the abdomen, and never from the neck.
6). Inhale and lift the arms back up overhead, slowly untwist the thoracic spine and return to facing the front.
7). Exhale the arms down and behind the back, shake the legs out and release the pose.
8). Repeat on the left side.
- If your arm in step 4 doesn’t reach the floor behind you, bring the floor to you by using a block or bolster.
- Ground through the lower body when the legs are entwined for a stable base, to be able to lift up and twist slightly more.
- Draw the armpits down to keep the shoulders broad and activate the side body.
- Once the left elbow is place to the outside of the right knee in step 4, the left arm can stay up or wrap around the right leg. You can gently use the elbow to help you deepen the twist by bracing it against the right knee- take care to only twist as far as is comfortable.
- Only turn your head to look over your back shoulder once your thoracic body has reached the limit of the twist, don’t move your neck beforehand.