With 26 postures and one breathing exercise accomplished, the final breathing exercise begins to cool your body down so (after a 2-minute final savasana, of course!) you leave the hot room feeling like a brand new, yoga-lized you.
i"The principle of Ardha-Matsyendrasana and of other spine-twisting asanas is the use of the legs as fulcrums or levers so that the pull of the arms on the two upper corners of the rib box can bring the spinal twist to its maximum potential. The value of the twist is that it exercises, adjusts and rejuvenates the spine, and that it stimulates all the organs of the trunk to better health."
(from "Yoga Postures for Health", compiled from articles in the 1956-59 Self Realization Magazine)
Half Spine Twisting pose improves blood circulation around the spinal nerves, veins and tissues. It increases flexibility of the entire spine and range of motion at the hip joints, helps alleviate back pain caused by lumbago, kyphosis, scoliosis and arthritis. Twisting improves digestion, relieves flatulence and strengthens the abdominal and thigh muscles while providing a tremendous stretch for the illiotibilal (IT) band.
So how come we only do 1 set of this fabulous pose? Bikram might say he ran out of time- but we think it's just so great that only 1 set of it does the job. ;)
How to do:
Half Tortoise pose provides maximum relaxation effect by getting your head below your heart, sending freshly oxygenated high-speed blood rushing into and around your brain. It's said that 30 seconds in this posture is as relaxing as 8 full hours of sleep!
Among the numerous benefits of Half Tortoise pose:
How to do:
Sit down kneel-down position with your hips on your heels. Bring your arms over your head sideways, hands-palms together and cross your thumbs. Try to keep your hips on the heels throughout the posture. Exhale breathing and go down, arms and head together. Touch your forehead on the floor, the edge of your pinkie fingers on the floor, elbows locked. Stretch your arms forward so your shoulder blades come off the spine, still trying to keep your hips on your heels. Stay for about 30 seconds and stretch, breathing calmly in and out by the nose. Inhale breathing and slowly come up with your arms and head together. Relax on your back in savasana for 20 seconds.
Judy says, “Bikram yoga has fixed my diverticulitis. I used to get it several times a year, and would sometimes take double antibiotics and go on clear liquid diets to alleviate the pain and bloating. It sucked. I only got it once last year and that was a travel week when I hadn't been to class. Bikram yoga balances the added stress, lack of sleep and rich food and drink that often accompany our business trips. Now when we travel we try to have a yoga studio picked out to visit wherever we can!
“Practicing Bikram yoga also allows my mind to calm down after a full day of working on our own business. I have learned to breathe calmly through my nose, focus only on what's in front of me, and really listen, even when my brain thinks it's going to explode. When I do all of this the time flies by. And I forget about work for a while!
“I came to my first class in February 2016, because I stole my husband Alex's buddy pass. Then I told Alex he would hate it and it wasn't quite for him, so (of course) he tried it. The rest is history.
“Alex and I work together all day from home, and that can be challenging. Sometimes we need to ‘divide and conquer,’ and take yoga at different times. Whether we practice together or apart, after class I feel re-set mentally and emotionally and I'm a much nicer person to be around. We encourage each other to go to class even when one of us doesn’t feel like it- because we always feel better when we do.
Alex adds, “Bikram yoga has helped both of us with stress. I am just more relaxed in my work when I practice yoga on a regular basis. I’ve gained strength and flexibility, which I notice when walking and exercise in general. Bikram yoga also helps me with long plane trips! Since starting to practice I even feel more at ease when sitting in that middle seat on a long, long flight.
“When we’re in town, after an evening yoga class Judy and I often come home and have dinner together. It's a favorite time of mine. After an evening yoga class we are relaxed, laughing and putting our business and the rest of our lives aside. Having each taken time for ourselves, we are able to focus on each other and just enjoying our time together.”
Bikram Yoga St. Johns' studio owner, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay D.