The pose we're going to do is the seated twist or Ardha Matsyendrasana. This is one of my favorite poses. Anytime you twist the spine, it's such a good release for the nervous system. And it's so good for the health of your spine. Let take look at the Ardha Matsyendrasana.
How to do it?
Keep your right leg straight. So while sitting down, your legs are active. The spine should be tall and straight. So you are already using a lot of muscles here, not so much that you can't breathe because you need a soft belly in yoga, because you're still doing belly breathing, doing belly breathing all the time in yoga.
Flex the right foot, take the left leg and place it outside of the right leg, just by the knee, lengthen through the spine as the left knee with your right, This is where a lot of students get confused. What you want to remember is, whatever leg you have bent, you use the other arm to hug.
That will give you a twist. For prenatal yoga, you don't do that force because you'd be able to free up the spine. But we are doing regular yoga. hug the left knee with your right arm, inhale, and lengthen through the spine. If the left arm is up, exhale and twist to the left, open your left shoulder. Look towards the back of the room.
At this point, students would start to sag the right foot like this. So just to remind them to engage the right side legs and right foot. After five long breaths, loop the front and release the pose, release the spine. You want to go into the twist carefully and come out of the twist carefully. How do you go into the twist carefully, you lengthen the spine, and then you twist. And when you release, you release first the head and cervical spine, and then the rest of the spine will follow.
Let's go ahead with the other side and some variations. Left leg straight, bend your right knee, and take the right foot outside of the left. Hug your right knee with a left arm. Inhale your right arm up and exhale, place the right hand behind you, and twist.
Stay here for five breaths in and look front and exhale.
You can start with your head. Now, how far should the hand be? Well, that depends on how long your arm is in relation to your toes. So place your hand right there. And that will give me a nice length of the spine. If you move it back then that means you are leaning back.
Okay. Next variation, take the elbow outside of the knee and flat twist.
So again, take the elbow outside of the knee and push it to the front, release. So then what happens is you are really pressing the thigh closer to the abdominals, closer to all of those internal organs there. That gives you kind of like a nice detoxifying massage for the internal organs.
So, another one is the elbow outside of the knee. And then just simply straighten your arm to the front and release. Remember to always look for the first cervical spine first before or the rest to release.
Work with the above variations and how your students work on those variations. Now, for some people, the position with a knee bend might be too challenging.
Congratulations. That's it for the Ardhamatsyendrasana.