It’s all the minute, subtle activations and bandha that make the difference in most yoga poses. This is what turns a posture that may look “easy” or feel relatively simple into something reasonably dynamic and deliciously intense. It’s one incredibly good reason to create a deeper understanding of certain poses properly before moving too quickly in and out of them. Moving quickly without understanding can mean we are using momentum instead of internal power and focus. We might miss the all-important “tweaks and it could even, potentially mean we become injured.
One example is with twisting. Nothing is necessarily right or wrong, but what feels better and has the most amount of physiological benefit?
Generally, the instruction may be given to twist on exhalation. However, the muscles of forced exhalation create tension in the abdomen. When we tighten the belly, consciously or unconsciously, a twist is far more difficult.
Add to this the habit of attempting to sit up straight but instead ending up with chest sticking out one way and bum sticking out the other (iliac crests – hip bones – in front of sitting bones) and a twist suddenly becomes very hard on the hips and spine – potentially extremely dodgy.
You can try it that way – bottom sticking out, tummy tight on exhale – and then try it this way and see what feels better:
– When you stand or sit up straight, drop your sitting (bum) bones down and neutralise the tailbone*
– Try and align the bony hip bits at the front of the pelvis (Iliac crests) with the sitting bones without automatically slumping your shoulders. You should find the rectus abs (washboards!) push forward slightly.
– Take a little breath in without tensing the belly and keeping your head where it is (ie, don’t move from your head in the first instance – that’s not a twist, it’s you just turning your head!), twist from the navel to one side.
– When you are in that twist, exhale and notice there is barely any air to breathe out.
Try it the other, more habitual way again and tell me, what feels better? ❤️👊🙏🕉
*Not forever. Just for the pose…