Friday, November 29, 2013

Fitness Friday - Reclined Spinal Twist Yoga Pose

I was on the fence about what to look at this Fitness Friday, yesterday was Thanksgiving and there was a part of me that wanted to look at a high intensity cardio exercise and another side that knows that there are very few people that have the motivation to hit the gym today.  I was fully planning on hitting the gym this morning and then I woke up later than usual and did not want to move out of my bed.  I have decided that I will be skipping both the gym and the mall today so I am hanging out in my favorite sweatpants and I have decided that I will not be writing a post about cardio activities until I return to my normal routine in the next few weeks.

Today we are going to be looking at a restorative yoga pose that I have done in both the beginning and end of many yoga classes.  This pose also helps with stomach issues and bloating, two common problems that occur after the Thanksgiving meals.  This would be a great yoga pose to try today and I enjoy doing it as many nights as possible before bed.

The Yoga Outlet website provides some great background on the benefits of the pose and how to reap the benefits of it.  "Twists are a great way to decompress and squeeze out the anxiety and frustrations of your day — just like wringing out a sponge. They also stimulate and detoxify the organs of your torso. If you’ve ever felt worn out at the end of a workday or after a weekend of over-indulgence, Reclined Spinal Twist is a great pose to help restore balance."  This pose is great for back or stomach issues but today we are going to focus on how it helps to relieve bloating

Reclined Spinal Twist helps to "wring" out the digestive organs and simulate digestion.  It will help to send fresh blood to the digestive system and keep them functioning in a healthy manner.  It will help move excess gas out of the stomach and reduce bloating, while keeping digestion flowing in the correct fashion.

- To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. You can rest your head on a pillow or blanket for extra neck support. Let your arms rest at your sides.
- On an exhalation, draw both knees to your chest and clasp your hands around them. This is Knee-to-Chest pose.
- Extend your left leg along the floor, keeping your right knee drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out along the floor at shoulder-height with your palm facing down.
- Shift your hips slightly to the right. Then, place your left hand on the outside of your right knee.
- Exhaling, drop your right knee over the left side of your body. Keep your left hand resting gently on your right knee.
- Turn your head to the right. Soften your gaze toward your right fingertips. Keep your shoulder blades pressing toward the floor and away from your ears. Allow the force of gravity to drop your knee even closer to the floor. If your right toes can touch the floor, allow your foot to rest.
- Hold the pose for 10-25 breaths. On an inhalation, slowly come back to center, bringing both knees to your chest in Knees-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana).
- Exhale, and extend your right leg along the floor. Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.
- When you’re finished with the pose, hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths in Knee-to-Chest Pose (Apanasana). Then, slowly exhale as you extend both legs along the floor.

The digestive benefits of this yoga pose as easy to understand on the day after Thanksgiving but this pose also will help with back muscles and wringing tension out of them.  It also helps to tone and refine side abdominal muscles, which is how I will be using this pose the majority of the time.

Hopefully this pose helps to make yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner a fond memory and I am sure that all of us will get right back on the exercise bandwagon next week...

photo courtesy of

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