There is something amazing about twists. Any kind of twist. We are all drawn to them in some form or another. I see people standing in line at the grocery gently moving themselves into twists, I notice my students as they warm up before class doing reclined twists, using breath to ease into them... and as I work on my computer and need a break, I am instantly drawn to a seated twist.
There is a reason for that. I was just re-reading Julie Gudmestad's Yoga Journal article on twists and she mentions how there are physiological benefits as well as structural and focus benefits to twists. She goes on to remind us that B.K.S Iyengar (there is a reason I am drawn to Iyengar... that's another posting for the future!) described twists as a "squeeze and soak"action... our organs are compressed while we twist thereby releasing blood filled with toxins and then as we release the twist, freshly oxygenated blood rushes in.... ahhhh, I can feel it now! And I know that for me just changing my orientation can be of benefit.... sitting at our desks, in a car or an airplane we are facing forward. Twists enable us to see around us. I always find my mood elevated as I relax into a twist. Afterwards things just seem a little more in perspective.
As we twist, we visualize our spine unfurling from the base and reaching upwards towards the crown of the head. Using our abdominal and spinal muscles to deepen the twist we can settle in an enjoy the pose. And then as we release, we feel our bodies smile....
Go on, do a twist!