Restorative spinal twisting asanas are both calming and important for creating a healthy spine.
When I think of twisting, I think of opening a water bottle. You cannot just twist the cap off, something has to hold the bottom steady in order to move the lid. In restorative yoga, the same principles apply, although we are not working against gravity to maintain the fixed base.
Restorative spinal twisting asanas are calming:
The relaxation, or calming effect of the pose comes from relying on prop placement where you (uniquely) require it.
Restorative spinal twisting asanas are important for the vertebrae:
The mobility improvement to spinal joint flexibility comes from extending the thoracic spine or wringing out the spine. Much like a water bottle, the lumbar, or lower part of our body, is not intended to be torqued. In this way, we are involving opposite movements, the spine is straight,while pelvis and shoulder girdles stack up like shelves. I found the sandbag helped to relax the shoulder opposite to the legs, since it tends to roll forward.
You can see this in the bellow variation of Jathara Parivartanasana (basic stomach turn) which is a great restorative twisting asana to unwind from stress, a lot of walking, standing, or sitting. I also find it helpful to digestion.
We will explore this in class today at 4 in Jersey City!