While I enjoy just about any yoga posture that requires me to twist my body, spring seems to naturally invite me to twist a little more as a method for spring-cleaning my organs.
“Twisting postures help push toxins out of the body and stimulate our internal organs,” my yoga students often hear me say during our in-class twists.
Yoga Anonymous explains:
“Performing yoga twists massages inner muscles and organs, essentially wringing out toxins while bringing in a rush of fresh oxygen and nutrients. This flushes impurities from inner tissues and helps organs perform their functions properly. Among other benefits, this is an effective method for improving sluggish digestion.”
Think of the steps it takes to wring out a sponge at your kitchen sink!
Typically, we run water over a not-so-fresh sponge (maybe even adding a little dish detergent), and then we wring it out, right? Once we untwist the sponge, it usually looks and feels fresher and fluffier.
Now, take a moment to think about your organs this way!
But, since we can’t simply cleanse our organs under the kitchen faucet like a sponge, we can certainly twist our way to healthier organs!
“The twisting action helps the muscles to relax and when the twist is released, the areas that were involved become flooded with fresh blood and nutrients. Yoga master B.K.S Iyengar calls this the ‘squeeze-and-soak’ action,” says Yoga Flavored Life.
How to Do Yoga Twists
Right from your chair, you can take a few moments to twist and cleanse to experience this refreshing process.
Sitting with an upright spine and your feet grounded on the floor about hip width apart (knees above your ankles), rest your palms on your lap as your draw your abdominals in toward your spine to support your lower back. Allow your shoulders to relax away from your ears.
Keeping your core comfortably engaged, torso lengthened and shoulders down, lift your hands into prayer position and rest your thumbs against your chest (fingers pointing up).
Take a deep inhalation and even longer exhalation through the nose to settle your energy.
Inhale as though you are filling up a balloon inside of your tummy — exhale as though you are deflating that balloon. As you flow with your deep breaths, imagine pulling in fresh air and energy on the inhale and releasing old, stale air on the exhale.
Feel tension leaving the body as you sit tall while focusing on the rhythm of this calming breath.
Inhale again, and this time on the exhale, twist your upper body (with prayer hands still in place) toward the right. Twisting from your core, only rotate to what feels comfortable for your body. Holding the twist without holding the breath, observe a compressed feeling along your right side body and a lovely stretch across your back and along the left side of your torso.
If it feels right for you, rotate your head some more to look beyond your right shoulder. (This provides a gentle neck stretch that allows you to exercise the eyes at the same time.)
Want a change for the hands while holding your twist?
Let your front hand drop down to your right hip (your left arm stretches across your front body) and your right hand floats behind you and makes its way to the lower middle-back of the chair. After holding for at least five or so breaths, untwist the body back to your neutral position, returning your prayer hands to your chest…your heart’s center.
Close your eyes and pause for a moment while only focusing on the breath.
Since yoga is all about balance, what comes next?
Yup, you got it! We need to twist to the left.
Simply repeat the above steps while twisting in the opposite direction this time. Once you find your twist on that side, drop your right hand drop down and over to your left hip while taking your left hand to the back of the chair. Turn your head and eyes to the position that is best for you.
After a good five or so breaths on this side, untwist back to center, returning the hands to prayer position.
Close your eyes again, and enjoy the sensation of the natural way you refreshed your kidneys and liver while exercising your abdominals, spine, hips, shoulders, arms, neck, and eyes.
Ahhh, the multi-tasking of yoga twists! Ahhh, the taste of alternative medicine!
Affirm It & Drink Up!
Before moving on from your twist, you could even take a moment to affirm that your organs are healthy and whole by saying: “My organs are healthy and fully functioning.”
Believing is a vital part of the healing process!
Now, grab a glass of fresh water, carry it outdoors for some time in nature, and enjoy your spring-cleansed day!