Turning at the torso is not something we do every day. As your attention improves through your martial art practice, you will notice most people are as stiff as board in their torso area. Most of this is angst, some of it is disfunction. The internal martial arts require a supple torso. As you progress through baguazhang or taijiquan postures, you will notice a difference in your overall agility and balance as your torso loosens. The Floor Twist is your first step to softening the torso and is one of my favorite exercises. It has made a significant difference in my overall health.
Start by laying flat on our back with our knees raised. Remember to keep the Wuji Posture alignments, even though you are on the floor.
Lie on your right side with the right arm stretched straight out to the right with the palm facing up. Stretch your left arm out along your right with the palm down. Pull your knees up and straighten the lower legs.
Turn to your left, moving the left arm in a large arc over your head so it comes to rest on the floor with the palm facing up. Let your upper torso and head follow the movement of the hand. Prevent your knees from sliding or rising by using your right hand to catch and hold them in place.
This can be a significant stretch for most people, so go slowly. You can start with a smaller twist by sliding the left hand along the right arm as you turn your torso. Turn your torso and head until the left elbow touches the floor. As your torso softens, you can extend the stretch.
Hold the position for one minute before bringing the left arm back to its starting position, then roll over and repeat the entire exercise by starting on your left side and extending the right arm.
Remember to breathe deeply while you hold the posture. Relax into the position. Don’t force your arm to the floor. Let gravity assist you into the stretch. It is fine for the elbow and shoulder of your extended arm to not touch the floor. Some days the stretch will be easier on your left than your right side, other days the opposite will be true. This stretch can be addictive, don’t overdo it.