My latest Iyengar Yoga class was about twists. Twists are considered cleansing poses. The squeeze and release of the body creates a rush in circulation clearing the digestive tract and vital organs. Not everyone likes twists. For some it's easy and pleasant enough. For others it is not just a matter of physical difficulty, it can stir up a variety of emotions that can leave you angry or outright cranky.
I like twists even though they can be a physical challenge for me. I appreciate the pleasant stretch I get along my spine. Remember to drink lots of water after doing twists to promote the cleansing effect.
The class did not seem like a twisting class but more a preparation for twists. Susan had us do a series of seated poses; Dandasana (staff pose), Baddha Konasana (cobbler pose), and Upavista Konasana (wide angle pose). We held each pose for two minutes. Then we did a series of one minute holds staff, cobbler, wide angle, cobbler, one pose right after the other, three times round. We then did the same circuit of of poses three times but with only 30 second holds. We followed this with Arda Navanasa (half boat pose). These poses work your core, sides of the waist and groin. Next was one-legged downward-facing dog pose. We followed that with the Supta Padagustasna (reclined leg stretch) series; 1) right leg up with strap in both hands, left leg along floor, 2) same position and lift head and upper back, 3) same position but then extent right leg out to the right side as low as you can take it. Repeat with left let up and right leg along the floor. Three poses remained, Jathara Parivartanasana (reclined twist), Ananda Balasana (happy baby pose), and Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined bound angle). More serious twist poses are to come. Susan just wanted to warm us up.
For those of you who are not currently studying yoga and want to know what the poses look like, go to www.yogajournal.com and go through their poses section. I use it a lot.