HALF SPINAL TWIST (Ardha Marichyasana)

   

Contraindications: Back or spine injury, recent abdominal surgery, diarrhea, high or low blood pressure, headache, insomnia

How to perform: Sit with the legs stretched in front of you, then place ther ight foot on the outside of the left knee. Keep the left leg strong and active with the knee and toes facing upwards. With an exhalation, rotate the torso to the right and wrap the left arm around the right thigh. Press the right palm or fingertips onto the floor just behind the pelvis to lift the torso slightly up and forward. Look back over the shoulder to complete the twist in your cervical spine. Hold the pose for 12 breaths - continue lengthening the spine with each inhalation, and twist a little more with each exhalation. To release, with an exhalation return to the starting position, and repeat to the left for the same length of time.

Do not lean backward - the back arm shouldn't bear much weight. Do not concentrate on the twist in the lower back - distribute it evenly throughout the entire length of the spine.

Do keep the shoulders parallel to the ground and keep the straight leg and bent-knee foot grounded.

What if... it's difficult to keep my spine straight? Use the bent leg as a support to hug the knee closer to the chest and lengthen the spine more.

Benefits: Strengthens and stretches the spine, tones the spinal nerves, opens the ribcage. Massages the pancreas, liver and kidneys and stimulates peristaltic actions. Stretches the shoulders, hips and neck. Relaxes and focuses the mind.

  
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