Why Twists Matter

My seasonal workshops always concentrate work on a type of poses, and twists are best for Fall. Here’s why.

First, twists are tonics for the system. While all yoga poses in their various ways have both restorative and invigorating effects on the body, twists are particularly so because they narrow in on the vertebrae and spine. Standing twists, especially, wake the body up in a way that is less stimulating and scary than backbends, and they help stabilize the mind as you take measured breaths while lengthening and rotating the spine. Seated twists, all named after Indian sages, calm and balance both sides of the brain, leaving behind a feeling of internal harmony.

Twists also stimulate the digestive organs, and the kidneys and the liver, releasing toxins from them and into the system overall to then be disposed of. This time of year surely we can benefit from these actions!

From a physical perspective, twists require lots of hip stability and understanding, which leads to spinal length and strength. The hips need to warm up, strengthen, and “let go” in order for the spine to lengthen and strengthen via twisting. This is the part of the workshop that will leave you sore!

Universally, or macro-biotically, or even psychosomatically, in Fall, as the weather cools off and winter winds pick up and humidity leaves the air, we need to generate more warmth and grounding. Much of the natural world is (sometimes just perennially) dying away, hibernating. The gravity and the ground are used to regenerate.

Our bodies benefit from aligning with this cycle of life. Even esoterically, the practice of twists is beneficial as we can take the opportunity to realign the main tributary of thought (our spine) to create more streamlined, positive, and simpler ways of thinking.

Kim Weeks