Twisting/Cleansing Exercises

1.  Simple Side-to-Side Twisting.
Start with your feet on the ground, glued together, knees up towards the ceiling.  Take a deep breath in and release your knees towards one side, trying to keep both shoulder blades on the ground to open your chest and release your lower back.  Hold here for 1 minute and repeat on the opposite side.  After you complete the other side, spend one minute twisting the knees side-to-side, exhaling on the release to the floor, and inhaling as your knees come back up toward the ceiling.  

side-to-side twisting

2.  Abdominal Engagement.
Lift your feet off of the ground so both your knee and your hip joint are at a 90 degree angle. Keep your shoulders relaxed on the ground, and a long neutral spine.  Take 10 deep breaths here, and draw your abdominals into your spine more with each exhale.    If this starts to cause discomfort in your low back, you can pull your knees closer to your stomach, but it usually just means you need to pull your abdominals in a little bit tighter.  

abdominal engagement

3.  Intermediate Side-to-Side Twist.
This twist is a little more advanced than the first one.  Your feet are off the ground and you need to work even harder to stabilize your spine.  Make sure your knees and hips remain at 90 degree angles.  On an inhale, breath into your chest and lower your knees toward the right, as far as you can control with your obliques (the abdominal muscles located on your sides) and without letting your opposite shoulder blade lift off of the floor.   Exhale and draw your abdominals in even tighter to lift your legs back up to the center.  Repeat 10-15 times on the right side and then perform on the left.  

intermediate side-to-side twisting

4.  Active Hamstring Stretch
This one’s not as hard ;).  Grab behind your knees, exhale and stretch your legs straight up towards the ceiling, aiming to keep your tailbone on the floor.  Inhale release your knees and exhale extend.  Repeat 10 times.  

active hamstring stretch

5.  Advanced Side-to-Side Twisting.
Start with your arms to the side and your feet straight up towards the ceiling.  On an inhale, breath into your chest and lower your feet toward the right, as far as you can control with your obliques (the abdominal muscles located on your sides) and without letting your opposite shoulder blade lift off of the floor.  Exhale and draw your abdominals in even tighter to lift your legs back up to the center.  Repeat 10-15 times on the right side and then perform on the left.  

advanced side-to-side twisting
advanced side-to-side twisting

**It’s important to remember that building up to an “advanced twist” may take time, so start where you are.  If the abdominal engagement feels challenging, stick with the first two exercises until you feel strong enough to advance forward.**

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