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Asana Analysis Private Yoga Instructor Los Angeles Santa Monica Catherine Tingey Open Table Twist

Published on May 22nd, 2024 | by Catherine Tingey

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Open Table Twist

Open Table Twist

I love this simple twist. As with some poses in yoga, there are differing opinions as how best to practice it.

When I teach this pose, I do not emphasize keeping the hips level.

I simply guide the student towards a feeling of expansion in the chest; the placement of the hips in space is secondary. In other words, I think the hips should move as much as they want to in this exercise; there is no need to contain them.

As a general rule, when I teach beginners, I spare them extensive alignment cues, unless the cues are related to safety. I’ve learned that excessive cueing is often wasted as the beginner is still developing the proprioception required to feel and ‘innerstand’ those cues.

Excessive alignment cues also keep the beginner in a mental space of thinking versus feeling, and I’ve found the best way to get people hooked on what yoga can do for their body/mind/spirit, is to create a space in which they can feel something new.

Private Yoga Instructor Los Angeles Santa Monica Catherine Tingey Open Table Twist

That said, a few curated cues used repeatedly will imprint on the beginner’s mind and at some point in their practice, the student may exclaim that they suddenly understand! This happened to a student of mine in Upward Facing Dog with the cue, ‘Reach the heart through the gateway of the arms.‘ It was a great day for me as a teacher!

[It has certainly amazed me that certain classical cues, repeated over decades by totally different teachers, have a permanent place in my conscious mind. I am grateful for that and it tickles me how much we can passively learn just by hearing words repeated, while in a relaxed state (in a yoga class, practicing yoga). It works far better than memorization! This is how I absorbed/came to know the Sanskrit names for most modern yoga poses.]

Anyway, this is a teacher’s digression–let’s look at Open Table Twist.

This pose is nicely sequenced around Sliding Table (a pose I made up) and Threaded Table. You’ll want to make sure wrists and shoulders are happy about all three poses. If you feel restriction at the end of the ROM (range of motion), simply back out.

DIRECTIONS

From TABLE,  move the right hand slightly towards the midline.

Take the left arm up.

Allow your gaze to follow your left thumb. (If this irritates your neck, keep your gaze parallel to the horizon).

BENEFITS

  • Chest Opener

  • Spinal flexibility

  • Low back release

CONTRAINDICATIONS

  • Wrist pain

WORK IN THE POSE

Press down through the hand on the floor.

Lift the heart to the sky.

VARIATIONS

Add a block under your right hand. See if it gives you more or less ROM.

Private Yoga Instructor Los Angeles Santa Monica Catherine Tingey Open Table Twist

Bring the fingertips to the ear, and lift the elbow point, inhale. Exhale elbow point to the floor. Repeat 3x, then release fingertips to the sky.

Instead of lifting away from the midline and upwards, try reaching the arm backwards (external rotation), then circling it up and forward, thumb pointing down (internal rotation). Go both ways.

Interested in learning more about how yoga can benefit your body, and your life?

Feel free to contact me here.

Namaste,

Catherine

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Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.

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About the Author

Entrepreneur, yogini, designer, award-winning filmmaker, personal trainer and former marathon runner. She left a career in finance to start her own business and along the way, became a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for 31 years and teaching privately for 11 years.



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