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Hello, Welcome to In the Moment with The Half Spinal Twist!!
February 24, 2013

In the Moment with the Half Spinal Twist!
Issue #028 - February 24, 2013

The Half Spinal Twist otherwise known as the Half Lord of the Fishes, is a more difficult yoga pose, yet with many benefits. It will relax your lower back, open and release your hips as well as your shoulders.

The twists, are a powerful tool to massage all your internal organs and glands to stimulate and cleanse them. Twists also aid in digestion and elimination.

Twists originate in the core of your body, and stimulate your 3rd energy center, or chakra, just above your navel. This energy center strengthens your personal power and feeds you energy at your sun center, or "solar plexus."

Strengthening your sun center will help you pull through the final months of the dark, cold winter! Take heart, the days are definitely getting longer, and we are nearing the spring equinox, only 3 or so weeks away!

Doing the Half Spinal Twist will energize and renew you and your personal power! In addition, you can relieve menstrual cramps, backache, fatigue and sciatic pain if you practice this pose regularly! What a wonderful pose, don't you think?

Yoga Staff Pose

Staff Pose Starting Position

To begin, you may want to ensure that your body is warm. Do some jumping jacks, or Sun Salutations first to make sure you are limber, as the twisting poses require more effort and space in your body. This pose is not a relaxing pose, per se, but a pose to bring power and energy to you.

Start by sitting in the Staff Pose. You should be in a perfect "L" shape, with an elongated spine. (Go to the Nov '12 Issue for a perfect description of the Staff Pose, if you need a refresher).

Center yourself on your breath, while sitting in the Staff Pose, for a few deep breaths. When you are ready, bend your right knee and take your right foot, cross it over your left leg and place it on the outside of your left knee.

Half Lord of the Fishes Start

Half Lord of the Fishes, Cross Legs

Next, take your left leg, bend it under the right and place your left foot by your right hip. If this is too strong a stretch for your hips, just keep your left leg straight. If you do this modification, you can choose to keep your right foot either on the outside of your left knee OR move it to the inside of your left knee, if the prior position is also too much of a stretch.

Make sure that you keep your torso long and tall. If you have slouched, during the leg bending, elongate fully through the spine again, by pulling your chest towards your knee, as shown in the picture. An elongated spine will twist much farther than a slouched one. You can test this and see for yourself. The twist comes out of the lower waist. When you slouch, there is very little range of motion here.

Also keep both hips, at the bottom sitting bones, down on the ground. If you can't put your right hip on the ground, and it keeps popping up, after bending into the crossed legs, go back to one of the straight leg modifications, until you can keep your right hip down.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Half Spinal Twist Full Pose

Now, inhale fully and twist to the right through your lower waist as your left elbow touches the outside of your right knee. There is a dynamic counter pressure between the elbow to the knee, and the knee to the elbow, as they push towards one another. This counter pressure helps you move into the twist a little farther.

Place your left hand in the half-prayer position (this is a holy "mudra" position). Keep your head looking to the front of your heart.

If this position is comfortable and you have more space, go ahead and turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Remember to keep your torso long and erect. Elongate both sides of the torso as you breathe fluidly and comfortably. Hold this pose for a minute or so.

You may have to adjust your right hand (back hand) to find a comfortable spot on your palms or your fingertips depending on the length of your arms.

On a long exhale, release your left arm from your knee and release your torso from the twist. Return to the Staff Pose and take several deep breaths.

You have squeezed out all the blood from your internal organs, and when the twist is released, they become saturated with new and fresh blood!

Repeat on the other side! Notice which side is easier, which areas are tight on which side. Breathe energy into those areas as you hold the pose. You will notice that on the inhale, if you elongate more, then on the exhale your body will release just a little farther into the twist.

Let your breath be your guide. Do only that which allows you to breath easily and deeply. Never pull, push or twist too hard.

You may want to say the following affirmations while you do your Half Spinal Twist:

I am filled with strength and power!
Love and Light engulf me!
I open my hips and shoulders AND my life for renewal.
I am present to my body and massage all my organs and glands.
I am open to new blood and new ideas.

Or make your own prayers and affirmations to show your intent for this twisting practice.

May you be filled with the rejuvenating energy from Above as you stay in the moment with the Half Spinal Twist.

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