Ambika Yoga

Sivananda yoga classes in Brussels

Half spinal twist – ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA

Definition: A lateral stretch for your entire spine

After bending forward and back in the previous asanas, your spine requires a lateral twist to retain its mobility. This ability to twist is often the first type of flexibility to be lost. During the Spiral Twists your vertebrae are mobilized; the exercises also allow more nourishment to reach the roots of the spinal nerves and the sympathetic nervous system.

The lumbar area does not twist easily, so you need to rotate the cervical and thoracic areas of your spine. Keep your chest open en your neck, head & spine aligned are prerequisites for a good twist.

Objective: To maintain sideways mobility in your spine

Beginner

Step 1: Sit with your legs extended in front of you, sit up straight on both sit bones. Stretch your arms up to the sky, straighten your spine. 

Step 2: Place your left foot on the mat outside of your right calf or knee. Inhale and lift your right arm straight up and place your left hand behind your spine on the mat.

Attention: keep the knee upright; keep the left leg straight on the mat; align the head, neck & back; relax the shoulders; keep the spine straight and support yourself with your left arm and hand on the mat.

Step 3: To come fully in the pose, you exhale and bring your right arm in front of your left knee and grab your left foot or ankle. Inhale sit up straight; exhale turn your head to look behind you over the left shoulder. Breathe slowly in your abdomen. Hold for up to 1 minute. Release slowly, first your head. Repeat on the other side.

Attention: keep your shoulders in the same line; chest open, spine straight; use your right arm to push the spine farther into the twist slowly and gradually.

AmbikaYoga_66Intermediate

Step 1: Sit on your heels, your spine, neck and head in a straight line.

Step 2:  Sit on the right side of your feet, your sit bones are on the floor. 

Step 3: Bring your left foot over the right knee on the mat. Place your left hand behind your spine on the mat. Inhale, lift your right arm straight up to the sky, straighten your spine.

Step 4: Exhale and bring your right arm in front of your chest and over the left knee. Straighten the right arm and grab your left foot or ankle. Inhale, sit up straight; exhale turn your head to look behind you over the left shoulder. Breathe slowly in your abdomen. Hold for up to 1 minute. Release slowly, first your head. Repeat on the other side.

Attention: keep your shoulders in the same line; chest open, spine straight; use your right arm to push the spine farther into the twist slowly and gradually; keep your right knee on the floor; pull with the left arm to allow the chest to turn farther.

Physical benefits

  • Tones and strengthens abs and obliques
  • Stretches and energizes the spine
  • Open the shoulders, neck, and hips
  • Increases flexibility, especially in hips and spine
  • Cleanses the internal organs
  • Improves digestion and elimination of waste
  • Relieves symptoms of backache, fatigue, menstrual discomfort and sciatica
  • Stimulates liver, heart, lungs, kidneys and spleen
  • Releases excess heat and toxins from organs and tissues

Mental benefit

  • By practicing this unusual twisting of the spine, your mind will also become more flexible and adaptable.

Source: Sivananda

<<<< previous asana: Wheel – >>>> next asana: Kakasana (crow)

 

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