Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Benefits of Yoga - The Twist

Monday morning making small decisions seemed difficult. A close relative was undergoing heart surgery and had just recovered from carotid surgery on Saturday. Overall, I'm blessed to stay pretty positive and faithful in challenging times. My belief is that things happen for reasons.

As Oriah says (something like this), "The best you can do is be there for people. There are not always words or cures. Maintaining a high vibration is the most valuable gift you can give."

However, come Monday my steadiness was hidden behind a muddle of cloudy thoughts and feelings. Twisting is one of the best ways I know to return to center and find balance in life. Here's a portion of the practice that brought me so much balance and that we're working on in classes this week:

Start with equal breathing, either 1:1 (inhale is the same length as the exhale) or 1:1:1:1 (pauses are the same length as the inhales and exhales).

Warm up the body with some joint rotations and a sun salutation.

Follow with twisting sun salutation. Use your imagination; here's one suggestion:

Start in Mountain and lift your heels. Keeping the heels lifted exhale and twist to the right. Inhale to center. Exhale to left. Continue alternating sides a few times.

Exhale into standing forward bend and hold the outside of the left ankle (or leg) with the right hand. Inhale, both hands on the ground. Exhale, left hand to outer right ankle/leg. Repeat a few times.

Exhale to a lunge with the left leg back and left knee on the earth. Inhale hands to front knee and on an out breath twist to the right. If you're more flexible, take the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Stay for 2-4 breaths. Release the twist on an inhale.

Exhale both legs to plank. More experienced Yogis may take side plank on each side.

Laying on the front body, inhale to cobra and exhale as you look over a shoulder. Each in breath look forward and each out breath alternate shoulders to look over. Repeat several times.

If you need a break, come into child's pose until your breath is steady and even.

Exhale to twisting down dog on both sides. (From down dog, walk your right hand a bit to the left and lift the left hand off the mat--be certain that you feel strong and integrated in the right shoulder. Reach the left hand to the outer right leg/ankle. Let your head dangle and release the neck.)

Exhale to lunge with the left leg forward. Just like before, drop the right knee to the ground and hands onto the left leg. Inhale lengthen in the spine like a growing lotus flower and exhale as you twist to the left. Stay for 2-4 breaths. Inhale to release the twist.

Exhale to standing forward fold. Take the twist here as described above.

Next exhale come through a squat and lie on your back.

Rest here.

Enjoy the wonderful balanced sensations from the miracle of twists!


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

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