Welcome to day 21 of Project Cheer! Today's cheer is brought to you by Kim McNeil of Kim McNeil Yoga.
What is Project Cheer all about? Check this out!
Cheer #21) Twist & Cheer!
With the holidays just around the corner, it's time to sit back, reflect, and share quality time with family and friends. It's also the time for overeating! With scrumptious baked goods and lots of turkey or veggie substitutes to be had, it's impossible to pass on another serving. All this eating of yummy food can leave even the most active person feeling sluggish. But don't worry, yoga can help.
From Turkey to Twists
Twists offer physiological benefits to the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems, all of which help after a season of eggnog overload. B.K.S. Iyengar describes twists as a "squeeze-and-soak" action: They stimulate circulation by helping to remove blood filled with metabolic waste and replace it with oxygen-rich blood. The organs of the torso compress during a twist helping to stimulate circulation which has a positive effect on the associated glands. In other words, they help aid digestion.
Twists also help realign the spine and maintain proper, healthy spinal rotation. Twists are great for those who spent a little too much time slouching on that comfy couch (you know who you are).
Here's a simple twist to get you going and make you feel a little lighter post-binge:
1. Sit sideways in a chair with the chair back on your right side
2. Plant your feet on the ground, knees together. If your feet don't reach the ground, place blocks (or a few Yellow Books) under your feet.
3. Inhale and sit tall, lengthen the spine
4. Exhale and twist to the right, move from the lower back first. Turn your naval towards the right
5. Hold the back of the chair with your hands; be careful to work through your range of motion!
6. Twist further with each exhalation. Move the twist up the back to include the mid- and upper-back and neck, turning to look over your right shoulder.
7. For a more intense twist, keep your knees together. If you have an IT joint injury, allow the knees to come apart and your hips to move with the twist.
8. Hold for at least four breaths and release on an exhalation, twisting back to the front
9. Repeat on the left side
Caution: During pregnancy, keep twists gentle and focus more on the upper back and shoulders. Don't practice twists in a way that compresses and overstretches the abdomen as this does the same to the uterus.
If you're one of the lucky ones to attend multiple holiday meals, do the above twist as many times as needed.
One last piece of advice: avoid the re-gifted fruitcake!