This transitional twist has long been a favorite of mine… both as a Thai posture to give and receive and as a “go-to” assist in a yoga class. It can give an excellent decompression for the spine, release tight hips and open slumping shoulders and often makes the receiver unintentionally say “Mmmmm:-)” It can be a stand alone pose, can be interspersed with single leg postures or, as the name indicates, be a transitional posture – usually moving from or to side-lying postures.
How to do the Transitional Twist:
- Make sure your partner’s arms are out to the side a bit.
- If you plan to prop their leg once twisted, place your prop now. Propping can be helpful for aligning the spine and for keeping very flexible people from ending up on their stomachs.
- On your knees, hold your partner’s bent and lifted knee with your bottom hand.
- Step your top foot near to their rib cage, into a lunge.
- Top hand fixes their shoulder to the floor. Not a lot of pressure here, just enough to “listen” to the muscles beneath and prevent the shoulder from sliding around or lifting.
- Press their knee across their body to bring them into the twist.
- When you meet restriction in the hip or you feel the shoulder trying to rise up, that’s far enough. If you are using a prop, this is the time to make sure it is positioned under the leg, as shown in the picture.
- Give your partner time to breathe here, inviting greater release.
- If you would like to take it deeper, switch your legs and press your bottom knee into the top glute. You can use your knee to press your partner deeper into the twist, if appropriate, or to move their hip further from their shoulder to give the lower spine more space and better alignment.
- If you are doing this posture only, don’t forget to do the other side. If you are using this transitional twist as part of a larger sequence that includes the side body, complete your entire sequence for the first side before moving to the second.
Benefits: Great all over stretch. Especially nice for the shoulder, side body, spine, outer hip and ITB.
Cautions: Take it slow and you will get more release. If the shoulder is restricted, move their hand closer to their hip or even bend their elbow and place the hand on the belly.
–> Counterposes: Traction can be really nice if this pose was intense. For the majority of people, this pose is an excellent way to warm up the low back for poses like Cobra. And, of course, don’t forget to do both sides of the twist 🙂
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