If your massage therapist, your shrink, and your yoga teacher ever got together, they'd surely agree that you need twists. Your massage therapist knows that your back muscles are tighter than the strings on a soprano ukulele; your shrink knows that half your tension comes from stress. And your teacher knows that twisting poses are often the best way to untie both physical and psychological knots.
Forward bends, side bends, and backbends bring relief, but twists really get to the core of your tension. Only twists can effectively stretch the deepest layer of back muscles: the small ones closest to your spine. The more you practice twists, the more you realize they don't just release tightness; they also dissipate the frustration, anxiety, or fear that's often behind physical tension. On many levels, twisting is more about what you let go of than what you accomplish. Twists come in many varieties—standing, seated, reclining, inverted, and arm balances—and each twisting pose is powered by a slightly different balance of physical forces, gravity, and the muscles of your arms, legs, waist, and back.