One of my favorite ways to start the day is with some yoga twists, and this week’s class has plenty of them! It’s a morning detox twist practice!
But wait, do twisting poses really help us to detox? Well…no. Not really.
The liver and lymphatic system are responsible for detoxifying, and they do it all on their own. They are constantly flushing harmful toxins out of the body, and twisting doesn’t have any effect on this functionality (neither do juice cleanses, if you were wondering).
While there is no scientific evidence that twisting poses improve liver or lymphatic-system function, they do have a number of awesome benefits! Check them out below!
Twists rotate the spine and stretch the muscles of the back. This movement helps to retain the spine’s natural range of motion. Like many things in life, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
If we don’t utilize our natural range of motion in the spine, we run the risk of our joints hardening and fusing. The supportive soft tissue that surrounds the joints can also shorten and become dysfunctional. We can help prevent this by regularly extending the muscles to their full length with twists once or twice a day.
Aid in Digestion
I think this is where the “twists detoxify” myth may have come from – because twists are known to help with digestion. They do this by creating movement in and around our digestive organs, namely the intestines.
To really get the digestive benefits of twists, be sure to twist to the right first, and then to the left. Why? Well, because twisting helps move stool through your colon (large intestine), which contains four main parts: the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon, and sigmoid colon.
Twisting to the right first widens the ascending colon, which gets stool moving up and across the transverse colon. Then, a twist to the left encourages stool to move down the descending colon, into the sigmoid colon, and toward elimination.
Neutralizing + Stabilizing
Twists are neutralizing poses, which means that they help to reset the spine. This makes them extremely beneficial after backbends and forward folds.
Twists also utilize the center of the body – the core. If done correctly, twisting will work the abdominal muscles and obliques, which are the muscles that support and stabilize the spine, shoulders, pelvis, and neck.
When there is a lack of space between our vertebrae, our spine tends to slump (I’m sure you’re familiar) and our energy levels drop. When we twist, we lengthen the spine, and this act of lengthening creates space between the vertebrae. This action allows our energy to flow better, giving us an instant energy boost and decompresses the vertebrae.
This makes twists perfect for starting the day! The morning practice below is full of twists, so unroll your mat and let’s twist into the day!
I’ll meet you on the mat!
Related: Morning Yoga for Strength + Energy