Question: Why do you often have us do twists at the end of class?
Twists are an important to our practice because twists are a force that will help us balance physically and energetically. By the end of a yoga class you have bent, turned, twisted, extended, contracted and rotated your spine in many ways. Doing a couple twists at the end of a class can have a cooling and calming effect on the central nervous system, which is housed in the spine along with the brain.
A twist like Marichyasana III can get into the deepest back muscles, especially muscles closest to the spine. As you twist, your internal organs are squeezed and compressed, and when the twist is released, there is a rush of fresh blood to the organs. Stagnant, sluggish organs are refreshed and this helps digestion and elimination.
Twists at the end of class can help us release tension from a previous pose and can help us to deepen a previous opening. Twists also massage and relax the back muscles, helping us prepare for the final pose, Savsana.
A FEW TWIST TIPS:
Aim to create an evenness to your twists. Most of us tend to twist only the parts of the spine that easily turn, skipping over the dull or stuck areas.
Use the breath to deepen and strengthen your twists. Be mindful and follow your breath. Stay aware as you inhale your breath and lift the spine, becoming taller and exhaling mindfully as you release the twist. Following the breath in a twist brings more awareness and intelligence to the spine. It is this presence of mind that can prevent a future back injury.