You gotta Detox to retox I always say...
Twists are detoxifying, or at least that's how BKS Iyengar has to say about them. Twists do squish and move the abdomen, so there may be some truth to that statement. Science disagrees, but science doesn't feel how a twist feels in teh body, before during and after. They do feel good, and definitely help many back problems, but be cautious in your twists.
Keep in mind that the thoracic spine moves less than the lumbar and the cervical. So we want our twists to be more from that region (where the ribs connect to the spine). People tend to overcompensate in the lumbar and cervical area during their twists. This is not the greatest idea, as we can injure ourselves in that way.
When you twist; start from the belly, then add the chest, and next the shoulders. Add the neck only if it's a pleasant addition, and do not over twist the neck. Undo the twist in the exact opposite. Shoulders, chest, then belly. This will not only protect the entire spine but if you are thinking about elongating the spine during your twist, you will go further, keeping the spine protected with length and reap more benefits. Such as spinal mobility.
We don't think about mobility much, until we age, unless we are into certain sports or yoga. You will find a healthy happy and mobile spine can be your best friend or your worst enemy at any age. Keep it on your good side by twisting with these key factors in mind.
Do not leverage too much.
Inhale and lengthen the spine, then twist. (remember belly, chest, shoulders)
Keep that long spine during the entire twist. Never give up the length to twist deeper.
Come out of a twist in the reverse way (shoulders, chest, belly)
Usually exhaing on the twist (unless it's a lifting twist: then you inhale)
Keep the shoulders low and even.
Keep the chest and shoulders open.
Breath normally or try to deepen your inhalation and exhalation, but do not cut off your breaths.
Do your twists on both sides for the same amount of time, with the same amount of effort. (not necessarily the same depth of pose, as sides may differ greatly)
Use caution with the neck in twists.
Enjoy, don't judge.
I love Esther Ekhart, she has many great tutorials on youtube. Here's an article she wrote on twists that I highly recommend. Enjoy!
Debbie Krejci E-RYT
become a yoga teacher