April 11, 2013

Seated Chair Twist

The Seated Chair Twist I'm writing about today is one of multiple twists that can be done from a chair but today we'll be using the back of the chair to assist in the twist. The Seated Chair Twist helps increase flexibility in the spine and back muscles, also stretching the shoulders and chest while building strength and massaging the internal organs.

When I use the word inside, I'm referring to the side of the body next to the back of the chair. Begin by sitting sideways on your chair with one side of the body facing the back of the chair.

We must sit up tall with an elongated spine. To help achieve this we do butt pulls to tilt the hips forward moving the pubis bone down and the sit bones up bringing the spine to neutral. This neutral spine is with the shoulders over the hips. Butt pulls; reach back and put your hand under the inside sit bone and pull it back a couple inches noticing the legs are now different lengths from the knees, then to the outside sit bone and one more time on the inside. This last one on the inside puts a little angle in the hips to help protect the spine in the twist. This is especially true for women, it is possible to separate the sacrum from the spine.

Now place your hands on the tops of your thighs and push elongating the spine before beginning the twist. With your next exhalation, turn the upper torso grabbing the sides of the back of the chair. As you twist only pull minimally on the back of the chair. Use the chair mainly for support as you twist your spine safely.

Once in the twist if you do not have neck issues turn the head in the direction of the twist looking over that shoulder. It's ok if you do not want to turn your head. You can keep the chin in line with the sternum.

Keep the shoulders relaxed, down, and away from the ears.

On each inhalation lengthen the spine up and each exhalation relax a little deeper into the twist. Be careful because the back of the chair is a fulcrum and you could injure yourself if twisting to much by pulling on the back of the chair. Listen to your body.

The twist will be from the base of the spine up through the middle back. Your focus is in the middle back (thoracic) with minimal twist in the lower back (lumbar).

Hold the twist for 20 to 60 seconds if it's comfortable for you to do so.

Watch the video for details and using a blanket as an option. The blanket is folded so it has a ridge the sit bones rest on like they are falling off which helps tilt the hips to achieve a neutral spine with minimal effort.

Benefits: It's said that twists benefit by squeezing and encouraging flow of oxygenated blood and eliminating toxic waste. Massages the internal organs helping digestions. The twist can help with movement in the joints by rotating each vertebra gently in this twist. Helps eliminate tension. Helps the chest, back, and shoulder muscles stretch and strengthen.

You should never go so deep into a twist that you are feeling pain!

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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