HYDERABAD: This is a variation of the sitting twist we looked at last week.
STEPS: Sit on the floor with your legs extended and fold your right knee so that the right foot is near the left calf muscle. Let the left leg remain straight and the left ankle flexed.
Variation step: Now take the right foot and cross it over the left thigh and place it on the floor next to the outer edge of the left thigh. Sit upright, inhale and take the left arm up- hand stretched towards the ceiling, as you exhale twist the torso by moving the left shoulder forward and place the left arm on the outside of the bent right leg and your left hand placed between the outer edge of the left knee and the right ankle. Left elbow to be facing outward (if this is not possible you may simply hug the right knee with the crook of the left elbow). Keep the right arm behind you but straight and close to the spine with the right palm on the floor very close to you, fingers can face away from you. Turn and look over your right shoulder, the endeavor is to get your chest and shoulders parallel to the wall on your right- the left shoulder to point to the front and the right shoulder to point back. Hold the pose as you breathe normal for 20-30 seconds. Use each exhalation to twist more. Release and switch legs and repeat the posture on the other side.
BENEFITS: This pose alternatively stretches and contracts the oblique muscles and transverse abdominals on the sides of the waist. This helps to tone the abdomen and also keep the back muscles stretching and contracting. There is a lot happening in this simple twist- many muscles are actively stretching in pairs- two-by-two! The back stays supple and the spine twists gently to help you feel invigorated. The variation in the placement of the foot here (the cross over as compared to last week) gives an exaggerated twist to the abdomen and back.
Anshu Vyas Seetharaman is a yoga and fitness trainer at Sri Aurobindo Society, Bengaluru. (110 Gangadhara Chetty Road, Ulsoor)