You depend on the strength and flexibility of your spine for nearly everything you do, from walking and sitting to coming into Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Handstand. In order to move through the wide range of motion you task your spine with on a regular basis, you need it to be both strong and flexible—and twists are one of the best ways to achieve both goals. That’s because twisting has the potential to help decompress the discs and elongate the spine, opening the spaces between the vertebrae, activating the muscles around the discs, and increasing blood flow to the spinal area to deliver pain-fighting, healing, anti-inflammatory oxygen.
Practicing this twisting sequence is beneficial for anyone who sits for a good portion of the day, suffers from chronic back pain, or loves activities that don’t incorporate a lot of spinal rotation, such as running, cycling, and hiking. Breathe deeply as you wring out your spine, and enjoy the added mobility, strength, and pain relief you experience in your back as a result.
1. Keep your breath long, smooth, and steady. The deeper you breathe, the more length you’ll gain in your spine.
2. To help you rotate when twisting, recruit your core muscles rather than your shoulders and neck. This will protect your spine and help you twist more safely.
About Our Pro
Teacher and model Jamie Elmer is a traveling teacher and teacher trainer whose practice and teaching have been influenced by Max Strom, Saul David Raye, Shiva Rea, Erich Schiffmann, Sherry Brourman, and Annie Carpenter. To learn more, visit jamieelmer.com.