Stretch of the Week- Reclining Twist
This weeks stretch helps to to relieve low back stiffness and pain. It is a very relaxing stretch and is a wonderful way to relieve compression after a long day of sitting. Here is a wonderful description of how to perform the stretch by Christine Wushke. I challenge you to do this stretch once a day preferably at the end of the day and see how you feel this week!
Benefits ~ Increases flexibility to the spine, and back muscles. Opens the shoulders, chest, and hips. Mobilizes the pelvis and sacrum. Strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system. Releases stress and emotional tension. Detoxifies internal organs. Improves bowel function.
This pose is not recommended if you have just finished a meal, or are pregnant. Use caution if you have degenerated disks, or arthritis in the spine or hips.
1. Lay on your back with your block or pillow on your left side near your hip, and your blanket near your right shoulder.
2. Bend your right knee, bringing the sole of your foot into your left knee. Roll onto your left side, bringing your knee down onto your block. (You may need to adjust the height of the block or pillow, so it feels comfortable.)
3. Bring your right arm over to the right, until your arm is resting on your blanket. You may have to adjust the angle of your hip in order to place the arm in a comfortable position. Use as many blankets under the arm as you need, so that the position is very comfortable. Adjust your upper back until both shoulder blades are moving towards the floor. Turn your head, and look over your right shoulder.
5. You should be feeling the stretch in your hips, back, and shoulders. Take care to keep the movement of your neck soft and relaxed.
6. Once you feel comfortable in the pose, allow yourself to relax. Let your arm sink into the blanket, and your knee sink into the block. Breathe into your back, as if you are drawing nourishment into your back muscles from the energy in your breath.
7. Hold the pose for about 1 min on each side, or until you feel the stretch diminish.