(Excerpted from Yoga for Paddling with Anna Levesque)
The obliques are key muscles in the movement of torso rotation and tend to be chronically contracted in paddlers. Twists help to stretch the obliques, give our internal organs a good massage, stimulate digestion, and calm the nervous system. One of my favorite twists for paddlers is the simple seated twist. This is a gentle twist that invites the obliques to lengthen, keeps your spine supple, gives a gentle massage to the internal organs, and stimulates your digestive fire.
Photo credit scottmartinimages.com
- Take a comfortable cross-legged seat on your mat. Sit up on a few blankets if it helps you to sit comfortably for several minutes.
- Reach back and move the flesh out from underneath your sitz bones to sit up taller.
- Exhale. Take your left hand to your right knee and your right hand behind you, twisting to the right.
- Take the sitz bones back and apart.
- Inhale to take your front low ribs down, expand the back ribs, and lengthen through the upper spine and out the crown of the head.
- Exhale to twist a little deeper. Hold for five deep and easy breaths.
- Inhale to come forward and release the pose.
- Pause and notice the sensations in your body and your mind.
- Switch sides and repeat.
To learn more about how yoga can improve your paddling and balance your body, check out Anna’s new book Yoga for Paddling. Order through the Mind Body Paddle webstore before December 31st, 2017 for a copy signed by Anna and receive free shipping! Also check out our other holiday specials on kayak and SUP instruction and Ayurveda Wellness Counseling packages. Save up to $100 while giving a meaningful gift this Holiday Season!