Twists are the best way to stimulate digestion, aiding in the much needed detoxification after a full day of eating and drinking on Thanksgiving. Check them out and start practicing so you're ready. Remember: Always twist to the right first as this stimulates the ascending colon, and then twist to the left to stimulate the descending colon.
Try these three twist poses to help get things moving:
Stand tall at the top of your mat with your legs and insteps together touching. Inhale, deeply bend the legs as if sitting in a small chair. The backs of the thighs should be parallel to the floor and the weight should be felt in the heels. Bring your hands together in prayer to the center of your chest. Remain with legs bent, exhale, twist the torso to the right side bringing your left upper arm to the outside of your right knee. Hands stay in prayer as you twist more and more with each breath, rotating your face up toward the ceiling. With each inhale, fill up and each exhale twist a little more. Breathe for five breaths. Return to the original chair position and stand up straight. Switch sides.
Lower down to your hands and knees. Step your right foot between your hands into a lunge position. The right knee should be aligned over the second two toes, and the hamstrings are parallel to the mat. Your back knee can stay on the floor to start. Just like in the Twisted Chair pose, take your hands to prayer at your chest, then rotate your torso over the right knee so that the left upper arm is on the outside of the right knee. Hands stay in prayer as you twist to the right bringing the face and gaze up toward the ceiling. On each exhale, twist a little more. The back knee can stay down on the mat, or lengthen it by tucking the toes and raising the knee off the floor to fully straighten the leg. Five breaths on each side.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend the right knee into the chest and then place the right foot on the outside of the left leg. Your left leg can remain straight or curl it under to lay the outside of the left leg on the floor. Your right knee should remain pointed directly up at the ceiling. Place your right hand close to the lower back on the floor, lengthen up through the spine.
Keeping the right hand by your back on the floor for support, raise the left arm into the air as you inhale. Exhale, rotate the torso to the right placing the back of the left arm on the outside of the left knee. Press down into the floor with the right hand to sit up tall, and twist to the right. Rotate the head to look far behind you. Each inhale should lengthen the spine; each exhale helps you twist more.
If your sit bones start to lift off the floor with the bottom leg bent, go back to a straight bottom leg. Both sit bones must stay connected to the floor at all times. Breathe for five and switch sides.
April Martucci is a renowned yogi in New York City and founder of FireDragonYoga.