Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hatha Yoga - Ayurveda - Rod Stryker - Day 4

Day 4 was just over a week ago. I feel as if a seed has been planted and over time, with nourishment and reflection, the wisdom and knowledge grows inside of me.

Each day, Rod led us through a practice that focused on a different type of asana. Day 1 was laterals (side body, like in Parighasana--Gate Pose). Day 2 forward bends. Day 3 backbends. Day 4 twists, and day 5 extensions.

Twists have a great impact on the blood in the abdominal area. As you deepen a twist, such as Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), the blood vessels are compressed. This squeezing action, breaks up old blood. When the twist is released, new fresh blood comes in.

Twisting asanas are considered one of the "secrets" to staying young. This is due to the stimulation of the organs.

Whenever entering a twist, know which part of the body is the stabilizer. Without a stabilizer, the body is simply turning. A turning body does not have all of the benefits that a twisting body has. It's the twisting action that cleanses and stimulates.

For example, in Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose), the hips and sit bones stabilize the pose. In a twisting shoulderstand, the shoulders are the stabilizers.

Folks with bulging discs are advised to avoid twists.

If you have back pain of any kind, check with your doctor first. With his or her okay, you may start your practice with simple standing asanas. When that feels okay 24-48 hours later, then add in standing twists. Again be sure the body is happy with this by checking in 24-48 hours later. The next step is to work with supine (laying on your back) twists. If after 24-48 hours, all is well, then you may introduce seated twists.

Seated twists are the most challenging on the spine due to the stability in the hips, the pull of gravity, and the effort of sitting on the floor. Remember to use a blanket to sit on if you find any rounding in the lumbar (low) back or it is difficult to sit upright.

"Yea, let's twist again, twistin' time is here ...."

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