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My partner and I share a car. We park in a garage off a narrow lane and that requires backing up the lane and then turning the car, while backing up, and pulling a 90 degree turn into the garage without hitting a neighbour’s car, another neighbour’s fence or tree, the stuff in our garage or our garage itself. Every time I park successfully I give a little sigh of relief. But what I’ve noticed is that I’m better at backing up than my partner is. (I also think I’m better at driving forward but we do disagree on this and many other things).
The reason I’m so good at backing up is because of all the twisting practice I do. I could give Linda Blair in the Exorcist a good run for her money. Besides, all her twisting was in the neck, I can twist all parts of my spine! My partner is more of a neck twister, but he’s not possessed so his neck rotation is limited. Because the core musculature is also unyielding, he has to crane to back up and ends up over-steering and then correcting. I can drive backwards really, really well. If I do say so. So twisting practice can lead to good driving skills. You’re welcome.
Speaking of driving, I have read about something called the “Dutch Twist” which is surprisingly not a cruller, but a method of twisting towards the driver’s side door. All our twisting is generally over the right shoulder (for backing up) but if you get in the habit of twisting to the left and opening the door with your right hand, you’ll be looking over your shoulder to the left and will see if anyone is coming along that you might “door”, like a cyclist. Because there are so many cyclist in the Netherlands, this is required by the drivers there – hence the name Dutch Twist.
Twisting in a natural setting would take place mainly climbing – trees, mountains, the necessity to reach and rotate. So go apple picking. Make some pies. (Seasonally, you could go strawberry picking and get squats in too!)
In the same vein, do some reaching around the house – place your coffee beans on the top shelf (or as high as you can) and reach for them! (Not twisting per se, but lengthening helps.)
Door way walk through – as you step through a doorway, place your hand or hands on either side of the door frame and as you walk slowly through, raise your arms up the frame as high as you can. Watch that you don’t raise the ribs, ribs stay down. (For an example, check out Katy Bowman’s post here.)
Twist with hand on wall – I like to place my hand on a wall or door frame as high as is comfortable for my shoulder, and then leaving my hand in place, walk my feet in a tight little circle and turn in place, effectively turning my body relative to my arm. Turn back and forth a few times and then switch arms and repeat.
When you catch yourself moving your feet to look around, plant them and look around you by rotating your body. So if you’re in a store or on the street – don’t move your feet around to see behind you, hold you feet still and turn your trunk. This has the added benefit of working some muscles of the feet, as it requires one foot to pronate and the other to supinate.
When you sit in a chair at work or home, especially a dining room or office chair (this doesn’t work so much for chairs you sink into like a living room chair), just make it a habit to twist every now and again, twist to both sides back and forth, then twist to one side, hold and breathe a few breaths. Repeat to the other side. You can use the arms to hold your position for a few breaths. It’s a wonderful way to lengthen the muscles between the ribs (intercostals) to expand them during a twist.
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